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Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), The

Director:  Noah Baumbach
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  3.0

The three children (Adam Sandler, Elizabeth Marvel and Ben Stiller) of semi-famous sculptor Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman) convene in NYC to attend a retrospective of his work at Bard College (where he was a professor), but have some past grievances with each other and their father they can't seem to get beyond. This is Baumbach going back to his The Squid and the Whale days, showing a family bound to each other despite their problems and difficulties, and Hoffman is a wonderful central character: critical and astoundingly self-absorbed ... but also entirely human and even pitiable, particularly when he ends up in the hospital over a brain injury. Like Wes Anderson, Baumbach's inspiration comes (in part) from J.D. Salinger's (hugely screwed up) Glass family: upper-crust elitists (in this case, Jewish) mishandling their own personal baggage. Hoffman's chief disappointment with his two sons and daughter is over their not pursuing careers in the arts ... although as the concluding scene suggests, he may have found a successor in his experimental filmmaker granddaughter Eliza (Grace Van Patten) - sometimes 'it' skips a generation. I have some minor issues with the way some scenes end abruptly (what's with the quick fade-outs?) and how Marvel's character is barely explored, but otherwise it's quite a gem in Baumbach's oeuvre.

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