The soundtrack to The Squid and the Whale
will probably be most enjoyed by the cynical, but that doesn't mean it isn't great. In fact, it's a nice intro to some '60s and '70s folk. British musical legend Bert Jansch appears here as does John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. (To rely on cliché: Phillips' "Holland Tunnel" is a forgotten road trip-ready gem.) However, the really on-point songs come from Loudon Wainwright III and his former wife and sister-in-law, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, respectively. Anna M's brutal "Heart Like a Wheel" tells a story of lost love--very applicable to a movie about a divorcing couple--while Wainwright's biting "Lullaby" reflects tension between a father and child all too well. (Loudon Wainwright is the father of Rufus Wainwright, also a singer-songwriter. Noah Baumbach is the son of novelist Jonathan Baumbach, and has made a semi-autobiographical movie about a difficult relationship between a father and son who will eventually be working in more or less the same field? Oh, the synergy!) The Cars' "Drive" and an old School House Rock
tune provide two of the lighter moments on this disc (and "Drive" isn't exactly "YMCA") only to have the soundtrack wrap up with Lou Reed's "Street Hassle," a kind of black-hearted "Bohemian Rhapsody," and Wainwright's "The Swimming Song," which features the phrase "I'm a self-destructive fool." Why this song hasn't already been used in every indie film from sex, lies, and videotape
to Garden State
, the world may never know.
Baumbach's selections show that he's serious about the pop music that accompanies his film, and that he wants the soundtrack to be more than a random selection of hits from the latest up-and-coming bands. He shares this trait with his writing partner from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson. Since Anderson's soundtracks are almost always as interesting and inventive as his films, this collection of music bodes well for Baumbach's directorial career. --Leah Weathersby
Set in Brooklyn in 1986, the Sony Pictures movie The Squid and The Whale captures with extraordinary immediacy the inner workings of the Berkman family. This is a film that deftly presents the realities of a family in transition learning to redefine itself. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach (The Life Aquatic, Kicking and Screaming) this movie was an award winner at 2005 Sundance Music Festival. Opening nationally from October 14, the awesome 70's and 80's rock tracklisting includiing tracks from The Cars and Lou Reed - plays an integral role in the movie and makes for a truly collectable soundtrack. Ultra. 2005.