I know the 2007 Oscar season is pretty thoroughly behind us and we’re in the middle of getting the site ready for the 2008 season, but something has been bothering me in the back of my head for a few months now and it’s gotten to the point where I just have to write something about it. That something is how much I hated Margot at the Wedding.

Brian said that The Savages showed “How to Out Baumbach Baumbach.” If Margot at the Wedding is any indication then that’s pretty easy.

I thoroughly disliked it when I watched it. As time grew so did my loathing. Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh play distant, selfish sisters. Jason Leigh’s Pauline is marrying Jack Black’s Malcolm. Kidman’s Margot comes for the big day even though her invitation was just a courtesy. Her odd son Claude comes along. Save for Claude, none of the major characters has a single redeeming feature that made me care one iota about them. They spend all their time together undermining each other and talking behind each other’s backs. And they don’t even discuss anything; they talk at each other instead of to, like two one-sided conversations that happen to occur in the same room, which is entirely unsatisfying.

So all we have are these horrible conversations that go nowhere supported by almost no story. At the end everyone still hates each other and nobody has grown. What is the point, besides boring me?

That’s all bad enough but there are all these creepy undertones to Claude and Margot’s relationship that made watching this film a truly distasteful experience. Claude’s a weird kid, but at least he’s aware enough to realize the rest of his family is severely messed up. Mother and son are close but in a completely unhealthy way: he’s overly-reliant on her, she domineers and manipulates him to use him as a tool to needle her sister. She shows no affection except to manipulate. And yet I’d describe their relationship as near-incestuous. I don’t know what Baumbach was going for but if it wasn’t “incredibly creepy” then he severely missed his mark. You really have to see the film to understand how unsettling these two are. Except don’t, because it sucks.

For a brief period I was surprised to be impressed by Jack Black’s performance. That period passed.

So let it be known that I just couldn’t leave 2007 before letting the world know how much I despised Margot at the Wedding.

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