Margot at the Wedding (2007)
There has been a wave of films depicting the results of free-spirited relationships lately. That is, how the offspring of the 69-ers have translated their alternative upbringing into their own idea of pedagogy. Noah Baumbach portrayed this with poignancy and slight of hand in his feature debut The Squid and the Whale in 2005, but he isn't equally successful in his follow-up Margot At the Wedding. The material is weaker and less relevant than in both Baumbach's previous film and other similar films.
Like Ryan Murphy's Running With Scissors, Margot At the Wedding plays out like a bleak homage to French new wave in general and Eric Rohmer in particular. Dysfunctionality and therapeutic/analytic interaction between the characters is the recipe, but Baumbach has nothing to say and his characters are dull, lifeless puppets. The only exception is the director's wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh, who brings some glow into a handful of scenes. Unfortunately, any essence the audience can extract from Baumbach's unnarrative writing here requires quite a bit of benevolence.