SYNOPSIS: Grudges and rivalries abound as three adult siblings converge in New York to contend with their prickly artist father -- and his fading legacy.
There’s this famous quote which says, “It’s all about the journey and not the destination”, in this case it applies to a movie liked The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) as well. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach who gave us quirky comedies and dramas, The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg and While We’re Young just to name a few seldom disappoints and Meyerowitz shines brightly as one of his definite best.
The movie opens with Danny Meyerowitz (Adam Sandler) and his daughter, Eliza (Grace Van Patten) in downtown New York trying hard to find a parking lot. Eliza is going to university the day after and Danny is staying with his dad for the time being. Shortly after, we learnt that Danny has been jobless his entire life and he just got a divorce. Patriarch of the household, Harold is a retired lecturer and disgruntled sculptor who is currently married to his fourth wife, a hippie alcoholic, Maureen (Emma Thompson). Danny also has an older sister, the quiet Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) and ultra-successful stepbrother Matthew (Ben Stiller) who is coming over from L.A. to discuss the sale of their family property and dad’s art pieces.
There’s a lot to say and tackle in this wacky drama about a dysfunctional family and Baumbach as always cuts it liked a pro. The various characters are written richly and convincingly that it never fails to laugh and cry with the Meyerowitzs. It’s very much a drama that is filled with astounding narrative and dialogue even though most of the running time, it’s just the camera following the leading characters walking up and down, talking to one and another in busy New York City, simple setup that produces cinematic magic.
After sitting through countless of his unbearable lowbrow comedies, Adam Sandler finally gave a brilliant performance as a man who simply never gets the attention of his dad. Together with his sister, Danny is cast aside after his father married Matthew’s mom (Candice Bergen in a cameo). While there isn’t much insight as to why Danny never latches on to his musical talent, we never see a downbeat, pessimistic man in front of us.
Ben Stiller (who was also excellent in the recent Brad’s Status) strike another home run with his acting and chemistry with Sandler. On the outside, Matthew is rich and successful and always been the apple of Harold’s eye. However, it’s far from reality as Matthew nurses his own grunges against his dad. Harold on the other hand grumbles daily about his less than stellar career and developed jealousy against his own contemporaries and of course, Dustin Hoffman absolutely (who is in the limelight for the wrong reason in recent months) nailed it.
There’s so much to like about The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) that it’s almost impossible to list all of them right here. Trust us and hop on for an enjoyable, emotional ride of the year with the amazing Meyerowitzs.
Review by Linus Tee