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Netflix Finds: The Meyerowitz Stories - Review

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The Meyerowitz Stories - Netflix Finds Review

4 stars

Thank the good lord himself you don’t live next to, on the same block, or anywhere in the vicinity of this dysfunctional family. Although, if you did, you might learn a thing or two, whether it’s how to successfully harbor a 35+ year grudge, or maintain a career as a second or third rate artist, and alienate your children. Think Tenembaums mixed with Griswolds.

Thus, you have the Meyerowitz family.

Largely commercially unknown Noah Baumbach dons both the writer’s pen and director’s chair for this masterful dark comedy, accompanied with a star-studded cast, guilty laughs, and enough gut-wrenching emotion to make a grown man weep. Taking a page out of his own book, Baumbach, who is also responsible for writing The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and the screenplay of Fantastic Mr. Fox, crafts this episodic, story-driven examination of a maladjusted family with more problems than their father has ex-wives (which in this case, is quite a few).

Largely driven by the relationship between Danny Meyerowitz (Adam Sandler), and his daughter Eliza (Grace Van Patten), The Meyerowitz Stories largely concerns a middle-aged, soon to be divorced Danny, and his conflicting relationships with himself, his daughter, and the rest of the backwards clan. As Eliza scurries off to college to indulge in some young adult, avant-garde pornographic film making, Danny is forced to move in with the matriarch of the family: Harold (Dustin Hoffman) while he gets back on his feet. An aged Harold, fresh off of… well nothing to speak, the former second rate sculptor, now retired, simply pawns off his failed artistic grievances on his children. Largely concerned with whether or not he got schnooked on an art deal that transpired over twenty years ago, why his name currently does carry the weight it once did in the New York art community, or why the university he formerly taught at insults him by offering him an art showing accompanied by some former and current faculty, the elder Meyerowitz seems to survive clinging only to those past and present wrongdoings.

When Harold becomes gravely ill, the hatred is cast aside, at least temporarily, the gloves are off, and rest of the flawed, Meyerowitz clan appears like clockwork. Along with sister Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), and half-brother Matthew (Ben Stiller), the siblings attempt to mend their own relationships, exonerate their father’s life-long behavior towards each of them, all whilst ensuring his survival. While the latter half of the film delves deeper into more sincere, unforgiving themes of parenting, self-fulfillment, and self-indulgence to name a few, it also sets the stage for some of the most intriguing character development, and authentic performances I’ve seen out of actors like Stiller and Sandler, in a very long time.

It’s no surprise that Baumbach has worked as Wes Anderson films, as he draws a palpable amount of the film’s inspiration from such films as The Royal Tenembaums, and the aforementioned Life Aquatic. Baumbach’s film is not quite the smoothest ride however, while his episodic story-telling may have worked on other films, the transitions here between “stories,” while congruent enough, are interrupted by odd transitions, cutting off of dialogue randomly, and ill-timed camera cuts.

While the film may not be for everyone, seeing as it does take a little after the avant-garde, artistic driven plot, with some well-to-do jargon thrown in, The Meyerowitz Stories is a legitimate, in-depth examination of a n’er-do-well family all too familiar to everyone in its audience. So put on a tux, grab an hors d’oeuvre, and let the art really speak to you.

The Meyerowitz Stories - Netflix Finds Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated by the MPAA
Runtime:
112 mins
Director
: Noah Baumbach
Writer:
Noah Baumbach
Cast:
Adam Sandler, Grace Van Patten, Dustin Hoffman
Genre
: Comedy | Drama
Tagline:

Distributor:
Netflix
Official Site:
Release Date:
October13, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father.

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