The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Despite being criticised at Cannes Film Festival back in May this year for Netflix’s hand in the distribution, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’s bittersweet portrayal of dysfunctional family life comes out on top, leaving audiences teary-eyed and laughing.
The film was written and directed by Noah Baumbach, who certainly knows a thing or two about dramatic comedy and takes on a distinct, natural style. Batting back and forth between the star-studded cast, the dialogue is playful and original, revealing character and plot in the best way possible.
Danny Meyerowitz (Adam Sandler) is unemployed. His half-brother, Matthew (Ben Stiller), is a wealthy and successful accountant in Los Angeles. Their father, Harold, whose rash temper and stubborn persona is depicted rather brilliantly by Dustin Hoffman, is a dejected, egotistical sculptor, envious of his contemporaries’ success and blinded by his own issues. His relationship with his children, including damaged half-sister Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), is revealed to have been neglectful. As a result, all three seem to have developed pronounced daddy issues. Harold’s third wife, Maureen, played wonderfully by Emma Thompson, adds an eccentric charm, completing the mismatched family. She intends to sell the childhood home along with Harold’s sculptures, much to Danny’s upset.
The Meyerowitz Stories follows the siblings, brought together for their father’s art exhibition, as they struggle to accept Harold’s temper and his obvious inclination towards Matthew. Their plan to exorcise their grievances is interrupted when Harold goes into hospital with a life-threatening condition and they are faced with a moral dilemma.
Baumbach depicts an all too familiar situation nowadays, and Sandler’s performance in portraying these frustrations at being the unloved and left-out kid is relatable and unlike the Sandler we may have seen in past roles. He nevertheless retains his comedic talent and his profanity-laden road rage gets the audience giggling.
The director has struck a satisfying balance between comedy and tragedy, and with Hoffman and Stiller back on the silver screen as father and son, The Meyerowitz Stories is a web of emotional issues with Harold smack bang in the centre as the inadvertent cause. It’s not hard to understand why the film got a four-minute standing ovation at its world premiere.
The Meyerowitz Stories is released on Netflix and in selected cinemas on 13th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Meyerowitz Stories here: