at The Wedding is a film nearly without a plot and with characters
that are unlikeable, yet there is something about this film
and it's characters that make it fascinating. Perhaps it is
the terrific performances of it's leads, notably the magical
chemistry shared by Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
As Pauline, Leigh is especially great and her laid back attitude
seems the perfect counterpoint to Margot's (Kidman) unending
nerves and bitterness. It is also Pauline's smallest glimmer
of caring humanity that comes through the depressing tone
of the film and the unsympathetic and moody nature of the
adult characters. Margot at the Wedding is without a plot
in that it captures moments of these characters lives. There
are subplots involving some angry neighbors, a love affair,
and confused children but ultimately nothing is ever "resolved".
The symbol of the old tree that stands in the back yard and
irritates the neighbors and needs to be taken down, represents
a metaphor for the characters as well as the narrative structure
of the film. In his fifth feature, Noah Baumbach takes the
family relationships established in his previous film (The
Squid and the Whale) to an even more selfish and bitter level.
The film feels like a throw back to early Eric Rohmer or Woody
Allen in the way it uses the communication and chemistry of
actors as the core of the film. This film is by no means pleasant,
but for some strange reason I sure had fun watching it.