Margot at the Wedding

  • Review Date: February 18, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Well-acted tale of crushing family dysfunction.
  • Review Date: February 18, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie is a veritable study of "bad" behavior -- adults act out, compete, and abuse one another emotionally. Their kids watch, worry, and try to make sense of the bickering, yelling, and withholding.

Violence

Sisters recall their father's abuse (he beat them with a belt). Margot yells at a woman who's pulling on her daughter's arm; she yells back at Margot and calls her a "bitch." An argument results in a slap. A dog is hit by a car, and Jim tries to save it (some blood visible). A boy beats up and bites Claude (who yells loudly in pain). Dick chases and kicks Malcolm, who cries. Discussion of unseen sister's rape.

Sex

Couple appears in bed, with woman's breasts visible. Margot listens to her sister having sex in the next room and masturbates in bed (no nudity, but obvious movement). Sisters discuss their sexual pasts several times, including that of another, unseen sister. Maisy tells Claude that his mom is "hot" and "I'd do her if I was gay." Dick kisses Margot in the car. An adult man admits to sexual activity with a female teenager. Claude admits to masturbating. Some body-part words ("testicles"). Suggestion that pregnancy prompted the wedding.

Language

Lots of uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "bitch," "d--khead," and "a--hole."

Consumerism

Margot is concerned with promoting her new book.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some cigarette smoking and wine drinking. Margot finds pills in a drawer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mature, sometimes-uncomfortable drama isn't for kids, even though Jack Black co-stars (this is definitely not one of his over-the-top comedy roles). Focused on the long-repressed conflicts between two adult sisters, its themes include competition, sexual desire and frustration, and passive-aggressive behavior. Several arguments include yelling and crying, and two brief fights show victims (men) getting kicked or hit. There are discussions and images of masturbation, rape, and abuse, and an adult man makes out with an adolescent girl. Language includes many uses of "f--k."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

"I can't say I have a whole lot of hope for the whole thing," says Margot (Nicole Kidman) at the start of MARGOT AT THE WEDDING. She and her adolescent son, Claude (Zane Pais), are on their way to Margot's childhood home in the Hamptons, where her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) now lives with her fiancc, Malcolm (Jack Black). Unfortunately, Margot's sense of foreboding influences the film as much as her sister's upcoming nuptials. A successful New York-based writer, Margot repeatedly belittles Pauline's choice of Malcolm while also framing herself as a victim; her own marriage, to Jim (John Turturro), is in trouble, though she hasn't yet revealed this to her son. And though Pauline, who's been estranged from her sister for years, wants to believe that her relationship with Malcolm is the real thing, she worries that her own insecurity and loneliness make her impossible to love.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

At the center of this maelstrom of immature adults and kids who compete for attention and resent one another is Claude. His perspective more or less grounds Noah Baumbach's latest investigation of long-festering family dysfunction, and so his changing attitudes toward his mother, aunt, and Malcolm -- as well as his cousin Ingrid (Flora Cross) and teenage housekeeper Maisy (Hallet Feiffer) -- tend to shape viewers'.

The film turns into a series of arguments and dire revelations; each is well acted, but their accumulation eventually feels crushing. When Margot at last decides to send Claude off alone on a bus, his simultaneous reluctance to go and desire to trust her is heartbreaking. That it's captured in a few moments in which he and his mother are at last not talking, not trying so desperately to order their feelings through language suggests at last that there's hope for them. Smartly, though, the film keeps still at last on Claude's face, letting you imagine his future.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ways this family deals with pain and betrayal. Do their interactions and reactions seem realistic to you? Why is it important to deal with tensions between siblings and between parents and children? How does communication help people resolve differences? Would better communication have helped Margot and Pauline? Families can also discuss the movie's open-ended "ending." What do you think of movies like that? Why do most Hollywood movies not end that way?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 16, 2007
DVD release date:February 19, 2008
Cast:Jack Black, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicole Kidman
Director:Noah Baumbach
Studio:Paramount Vantage
Genre:Drama
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content and language.

This review of Margot at the Wedding was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 and 12 year old Written byElza December 10, 2009
AGE
17
QUALITY
 
This was a very uncomfortable film, even for 40+ year old parents. It is very tense, sexually charged and one scene withe mother and her teacher son is just extremely deranged, bordering on sexual abuse (mother in bed with son, masturbates next to him). The mother mistreats her son in general and the whole feel is depressing and heavy. Hated it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 16 years old Written byjohnwi312 December 27, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Terrible. OK for older teens, but I don't recommend it for anybody.

I don't need all movies to be about happy, functional people - but Margot at the Wedding was just ridiculous. I felt like I was being infected by these aggressively awful, nasty people. The movie feels hugely pointless - it says nothing insightful, just mopes around and makes fun of its grossly self-centered characters. In the end, nothing has been learned, but plenty of time has been wasted.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Margot at the Wedding

Absolutely, completely loathed this movie. I generally enjoy dark dramadies about dysfunctional families (Little Miss Sunshine is one of my favorite movies), but this movie was completely unrealistic and torturous. Basically, the film is about a group of some of the most despicable, sad people you will ever see being cruel to each other in sneaky ways. That's it. There's absolutely not point to it, the characters don't change at all through the film, the whole thing is one long waste of time. It actually took effort to sit throught the entire thing.

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