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  • Writer's pictureHunter Friesen

"The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)" Review

After debuting in May at Cannes and receiving glowing reviews, Netflix released The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) on its streaming service on October 13. Noah Baumbach has both written and directed an incredible film about the struggles every family goes through. It’s one of the best dramedies because of its ability to be both very funny and painfully true to real life.

The film follows the dysfunctional Meyerowitz family. Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman) is the father and has three children all from different mothers, Danny (Adam Sandler), Matthew (Ben Stiller), and Jean (Elizabeth Marvel). Over time each child split off and did their own thing while their dad continued his career as an underappreciated sculptor. Danny turned out to be a talented musician, but choose to raise his daughter, Eliza (Grace Van Patten), instead. Matthew is a successful wealth manager and Jean became a project manager at Xerox. Also mixing in with the family is Harold’s fourth wife, Maureen (Emma Thompson).

While Harold is biologically the father of all three children, he never acted as a father towards them. He always regarded himself and his career above them, an action that emotionally damaged his kids in different ways. Each kid never really got along with each other and didn’t stay connected as they got older. Over time they begin to come around on each other and try to fix the strained relationship they have been coping with for years.

The film unfolds in an episodic format, with each child and Harold getting their own portion of the film. Each story is meaningful and captivating to watch as we really dig deep into their past and see how the actions of Harold have affected each one of them so many years later. All the stories are delivered really well and add up to make a great overall narrative. However, each one is not evenly balanced, specifically Jean’s as she gets a significantly smaller window than her brothers. It’s sad to see since her story is just as good as both of the men. Every character is pleasant to watch and play really well off the others. The chemistry between the cast is exceptional and makes it really convincing that each of these characters are part of the same family.

Noah Baumbach has made an authentic take on families and the relationships they share together. He has tackled the concept of fathers and their children before in The Squid and the Whale, but this film reaches new heights in terms of storytelling and character development.

This is the best ensemble cast of the year so far. Each actor is perfectly cast in their roles and do an amazing job. Dustin Hoffman is outstanding as the self-centered patriarch and really inspires disgust from the audience because of how poorly his character pays attention to his children.

Ben Stiller has been a frequent collaborator with Baumbach, but this is his best role yet. He portrays Matthew the child that feels like an outsider in his own family. He was the only child not follow an artistic career and feels disconnected with everybody else because of it.

Elizabeth Marvel does a great job as the troubled Jean. She makes us feel sorry for her since she is known as the forgotten child of the Meyerowitz clan, even though she has achieved so much in her career.

Emma Thompson is hilarious as the hippy and often drugged up Maureen. She is the lead contributor to the comedy but is underutilized in her supporting role. It would have been better to see more of her with the family.

Adam Sandler gives the best performance of his career as Danny. His character is both easy to laugh at and cry for because of his personality and life experiences. He deems himself a failure at life because he gave up on his music career, but he also raised a talented daughter that is about to go to college. We watch as he starts to rebuild his life and continues to inspire his daughter while she finds herself at college.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), is a great film about how a dysfunctional family reconnects after several years apart. A wonderful script, enticing characters, and superb acting make this one of the best films of the year, and surely will put Netflix on the map for future projects with serious talent.


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