Dustin Hoffman plays an irascible septuagenarian patriarch in Noah Baumbach’s stingingly funny comedy about a screwed-up New York family. To suggest that sculptor Harold Meyerowitz (Hoffman) is a model father would be pushing it. His adult children, like his artistic career, have not exactly met his expectations, but he has succeeded in selling them a rather delusional version of his own achievements. His eldest son Danny (Adam Sandler) is schlumping through life, still noodling original compositions on the family piano while his daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) seems to have made a singular profession of receding into the background. Only Matthew (Ben Stiller), a high-octane West Coast money-man has acquired the trappings of success, but not the kind favoured by Harold and his booze-addled bohemian fourth wife Maureen (Emma Thompson). It’s dysfunction as usual until a swift blow to the head puts Harold in hospital and everyone has to take stock. The stellar cast are uniformly excellent, clearly relishing the rippling dialogue and vivid character studies. Through the madcap antics of this neurotic, failure-obsessed clan, Baumbach (Greenberg, The Squid and the Whale, When We Were Young) slyly surfaces bigger questions about how to value family and the meaning of success.
Thu 12 Oct 8.45pm
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