DRAMA; 1hr 32min
STARRING: Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black
Sibling revelry: from left, Kidman and Leigh
There is nothing remotely playful about the needling interplay of Margot at the Wedding’s two spit-spatting sisters. Margot Zeller (Kidman) is a loose-cannon short-story writer who travels with her young son, Claude (Zane Pais), to the childhood home now occupied by her estranged sister, Pauline (Leigh), and Pauline’s fiancé, Malcolm (Black), to celebrate their upcoming marriage.
Pauline is a straight shooter with a loving heart. Malcolm is bumptious and directionless but essentially well-meaning. Claude is feeling his way towards adolescence and, necessarily, away from his mother, who is a catalyst for tension and dissent. Margot disapproves of Malcolm, her marriage (to John Turturro’s Jim) is in strife and what with one thing and another, she has more issues than an anger-management casebook.
Writer-director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) has an ongoing thing for unhappy families: in the emotional origami of Margot, love, resentment and possessiveness commingle into one, indistinguishable emotion. It lacks the shattering pay-off of Squid, but its contrary, keenly delineated women are a fiery compensation.