The Squid and the Whale

Synopsis: In 1986, In Brooklyn, New York, the dysfunctional family of pseudo intellectuals composed by the university professor Bernard and the prominent writer Joan split. Bernard is a selfish, cheap and jealous decadent writer that rationalizes every attitude in his family and life and does not accept "philistines" - people that do not read books or watch movies, while the unfaithful Joan is growing as a writer and has no problems with "philistines". Their sons, the teenager Walt and the boy Frank, feel the separation and take side: Walt stays with Bernard, and Frank with Joan, and both are affected with abnormal behaviors. Frank drinks booze and smears with sperm the books in the library and a locker in the dress room of his school. The messed-up and insecure Walt uses Roger Water's song "Hey You" in a festival as if it was of his own, and breaks up with his girlfriend Sophie. Meanwhile Joan has an affair with Frank's tennis teacher Ivan and Bernard with his student Lili.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Noah Baumbach
Production: Samuel Goldwyn Films
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 47 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
81 min

Mom and me versus you and Dad.

- Long.

- That looked pretty good.

- It was out.

- It did look good.

- Frank, it was out.

- It's my call. Out.

If you can, try and hit it

at your mother's backhand.

- It's pretty weak.

- Got it.

- Yes!

- Don't gloat, Walt.

Five games to three, us.

- F***! Come on, Bernard.

- Bernard, don't curse.

I'm cursing at myself.

- Nice shot.

- Thanks.

- Walt, watch out.

- It's part of the game.


Joan, I'm sorry. It was an accident.

You gotta get a second serve.


Did you just put that peanut up your nose?

Cashew. Yes.

Pickle, that is such

an idiotic, stupid thing to do.

No, it's out. I got it.

We're reading A Tale of Two Cities

in English. Is that any good?

It's minor Dickens.

Popular in schools.

But I think David Copperfield

or Great Expectations is much richer.

What is it about high school that you read...

...all the worst books

by good writers?

You should read it and see what you think of it.

I don't wanna waste my time.

What are you doing?

Just fixing up the couch.

- Did you sleep there?

- Yeah, our bed is hurting my back.

Isn't the couch worse

than the bed? For backs?

No. This is better.

When does Mom's story come out in the magazine?

It's not a magazine.

It's a literary journal.

Next month, I think.

It'll be weird having two writers as parents.

Yeah, well, Dad influenced her.

She never wrote before she met him.

I haven't read any of Dad's books.

I've looked at them. They're great.

Very dense.

He needs a new agent.

It's been too long.

The publishing world isn't receptive

always to real literary talent.

Maybe Mom will be famous instead.

- No, Dad's the writer.

- Maybe Mom's better.

That's way off base, Frank.

That's way off base.

Ivan hit with Arthur Ashe once.

Wasn't he ranked, like, 402 or something?

Ivan could've been a champ

if he hadn't hurt his knee.

Okay, my brother, let's see some groundstrokes.

You gotta ease up, my brother.

Jimmy Connors hits as hard as he can...

...but we can't all get away

with that, right?

All right, let's see the backhand.

Two hands. Two hands.

Hey, my brother.

Who taught you these junkyard strokes?

My Dad. He's self-taught.

I heard that. Hey, Bernard.

You teaching my brother here

these junkyard chip shots?

A one-handed backhand

is an elegant stroke.

My brother here doesn't want

a weak chip shot for a backhand.

- I don't care.

- It's McEnroe's stroke.

He's the master of the chip game.

- All right, fellas, that's it for today.

- Ivan, you wanna hit a little?

I got a few minutes.

Frank, you and Carl hang out.

Give me your racquet.

- Are you interested in any arts?

- I wouldn't mind being a pro.

It's very hard to be a professional player.

As good as even Ivan is, he's not in

a league with McEnroe or Connors.

Oh, I don't mean a pro like that.

I mean, like a pro

at the bubble. Like Ivan.

You don't wanna be a pro.

I'm sure I've lost my parking space.

We're gonna have to drive around.

- Can you drop me off?

- No.

I picked you up, the least you can do

is ride around with me.

Terrific, honeys.

- Walt, did you write that song?

- Yes.

- Frank had some good ideas too.

- Very dense. Very interesting.

Yeah. I signed up for the talent thing

they have at school.

Great. Just make sure

you practice a lot.

Mom, I'll be fine.

Remember, you'll be in front of a lot of people.

- Don't ruin the whole thing for me.

- You'll win.

If you don't, something's wrong with them.

Which is probably the case, actually.

People can be very stupid.

I'll get it.

Walt, you wanna come to my class

Rate this script:(3.00 / 1 vote)

Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach is an American independent filmmaker. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Squid and the Whale and is known for making dramatic comedies. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Squid and the Whale" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 28 Jan. 2023. <>.

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