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The Squid And The Whale

Updated on July 4, 2011

Three and a half stars

This movie captures the result of children growing up with deficient parents. By deficient I am not referring to completely psychopathic physically and sexually abusing parents. I am referring to the parents below that level. Just below the level that the law can intervene. Parents who verbally abuse one another and their children in addition to psychologically and emotionally abusing all the members of the family.

Usually, I like movies that depict life as it should be; however, I do enjoy some dark film because they expose unexplored problems. This is one such film because few people discuss the extraordinary damage a family can cause. Obviously, family can be good, but just the fact that people are a family, are related, does not make it good. It is the family members’ actions that make them good. In The Squid And The Whale none of the characters use their family status as an excuse, as a way to identify their actions as good. I believe maybe once or twice someone says lines similar to “I am your father,” or “I am your brother,” which is exactly like saying “we are family” as to justify vicious actions. However, the mother and father do get divorced; therefore, the “we are family” justification cannot be used prevalently. What is more disturbing is that no one really tries to justify their actions, suggesting that everyone assumes what they are doing is virtuous. What their assumed virtuous actions but really vicious actions produce is a son who hates his mother and is trying to pursue a promiscuous life style and another son who abuses himself and destroys property through unhealthy sexual activities.

At the end of the film comes the moment I like. A period that shows what life is supposed to be like. The son who hates the mother and always supports the father finally realizes something is wrong. He abandons his father at the hospital and visits the last place he felt happy. It is as if he is identified there is a problem, avoided everything wrong with that problem, and then asks, “What can I do to make things better?” meaning, “What can I do to be happy again.?”


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