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:: Margot At The Wedding

Margot At The Wedding features a group of self-centred adults attending to their petty squabbles while their neglected children journey toward a badly adjusted existence as a direct result. Margot (Nicole Kidman), flees from a husband to whom she just announced her desire to separate from in a note, travels with her son Claude (Zane Pais) to attend the wedding of her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) with whom she has not been on speaking terms, as well as to meet Pauline’s fiancé Malcolm (Jack Black).

The title character of Margot is defined by her acid tongue and wounded soul. She’s as destructive to others as she is fragile in her own psyche. Her marriage is falling apart, she’s an overbearing mother to her son, and she’s just generally incapable of absorbing and enjoying the experience of life. Margot has strong opinions about Pauline’s loser of a hubby-to-be (Jack Black) and never leaves those feelings unspoken.

What follows is a disastrous reunion as the family self-destructs under the weight of Margot’s poisonous venom and her sister's crippling insecurities. The siblings are tough on one another as they poke at open wounds – undoubtedly caused by a marred childhood – yet seek comfort in each other's arms when the going gets too tough. It’s a frustrating thing to watch, but the beauty of it is that it all feels so real. It’s like being caught in one of those quirky bouts of ill chemistry we're thrust into when our loved ones marry.

We have solid performances from Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh but they're burdened with characters who have nowhere to go. There's no character progression; they finish the film as they start, and they learn nothing from their own actions. As a result, the audience doesn't get the proper picture and the entire experience is near pointless. Jack Black gives his serious role a red hot go but ultimately he struggles.

“Margot at the Wedding” ultimately fails to add up to something coherent or relevant, resulting in a semi-engaging film that’s not particularly interesting or poignant in what it has to say about self-absorbed, largely unsympathetic characters.

The movie may have too many neurotic characters for its own good and is exhausting rather than satisfying. The sisters play everyone off of each other, causing greater problems than already exist, exposing secrets and disclosing scandals of various sizes in front of their children and outsiders.

Perhaps the director Noah Baumbach should have focussed more on Margot, and on the wake of her emotional hurricane. As it stands, she's mean, crazy and too close to her adolescent son not to be institutionalised. One worthwhile aspect and that deserves great credit is for director of photography, Harris Savides, who offers sharp imagery and his handheld camerawork is splendid.