From 'White Noise' to 'Frances Ha': Every Noah Baumbach Movie, Ranked
From "Kick and Scream" to "American Mistress," here's our ranking of every Noah Baumbach movie.
Masterful of family drama and yuppie angst, Noah Baumbach's film is undercut by moments of savvy humor, and it plays on both Gen X and Millennial ways of thinking when it comes to careers and relationships. commented, and made fun of. Frequently collaborating with director, screenwriter and actress Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, American Mistress, Greenberg), Baumbach has become a master of family drama and cold dialogue. Here's a ranking of his ten feature films, from worst to best.
11. Kicking and Screaming (1995)
Baumbach's tenderly amusing but clumsy feature film debut about a group of recent college graduates foreshadowed many of themes in his later work: coming of age, family ties, friendship, and the ramblings of youth Purpose. Grover (Josh Hamilton) is mourning the end of his relationship with Jane (Olivia Dubbo), an eccentric and brilliant writer who Moves to Prague, while his friends Max (Chris Eigerman), Skippy (Jason Wells) and Otis (Carlos Jacott) are equally content to have nothing to do after graduation. For all its uneven pacing and dated humor, "Kicking and Screaming" remains a candid assessment of the general panic-stricken nature of the early 20s.
10. Margot at the Wedding (2007)
In this family drama, emotionally unstable writer Margot (Nicole Kidman) visits her formerly estranged sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) for her wedding To reckless Malcolm (smart Jack Black). As the sisters vie for authority in Pauline's house, and Margot's nosy nature threatens to upend wedding plans, Baumbach highlights how tattered family ties caused by poor parenting and a bad childhood can reach breaking point way, even on certain occasions it should be joyful. Although the abuse of Margot and Pauline's late father is covered up, the sisters cannot escape the vicious cycle of pain, jealousy and suspicion that can easily evolve in such extreme circumstances. The film's plot is loose to non-existent, but the paper-thin premise is salvaged by the performances of Margot and Pauline's respective children, Claude (Zane Pass) and Ingrid (Flora Cross), who Witness the mother's emotional manipulation and pseudo-reconciliation. Like Greenberg, Margot at the Wedding sometimes indulges in an act of senseless misanthropy that makes for poor viewing, but it's still a valuable addition to Baumbach's work.
9. Mr. Jealousy (1997)
Struggling writer Lester Green (Eric Stoltz) is madly jealous of his eccentric new girlfriend Ramona Ray (Annabella Ciola) and her countless ex-girlfriends. Boyfriends—especially her self-absorbed former bestselling author Dashiell Frank (Chris Eigerman). in a particularly bad game Out of neurosis and insecurities, Lester decides to infiltrate Dashiell's therapy group under an alias, finding both relief and horror as they strike up a combative friendship. The film makes generous use of therapy scenes as a source of humor and sarcasm, and approaches comedic heights as Lester incorporates his circle of acquaintances into his schemes—except for a forgetful Ramona—thus indulging his worst moments. jealous suspicion. As his motives come to light, Lester confronts the unfortunate consequences of his paranoia and jealousy, and finally learns to let go of his insecurities. Despite its unlikely premise, Mister Envy sees Baumbach forge ahead in comedy and directing as he investigates a Shakespearean series of misunderstandings in his classic self-absorbed characters. Mister Jealousy is the cream of New York humor: neurosis meets self-parody.
8. Greenberg (2010)
Critics were mixed on the romantic comedy about an aging, neurotic would-be musician (Ben Stiller) and a housewife-slash LA version of Holly The story of an unlikely match between Golightly (Greta Gerwig). But no matter what you think of the couple's suitability, Greenberg remains a sharp and accurate portrayal of how selfishness, fear of emotional intimacy, and unrealistic expectations can prevent the possibility of love and friendship. Fortunately, Gerwig's character offers a way of redemption for Stiller's failed musician. However, their discreet relationship manages to escape the manic pixie dream girl dynamic, as by the end of the film, neither has been successful artistically. Arguably, they found something more substantial, though Greenberg's misanthropic sensibilities and almost incorrigible lead probably sealed its unfortunate box-office fate.
7. White Noise (2022)
In Baumbach's ambitious adaptation of Don DeLillo's 1985 novel White Noise, Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig play Jack and Babette Gladney, a couple raising a An academic couple from a mixed-race family. The couple grows estranged when a mysterious "air poisoning incident" disrupts their hard-won family stability. Jack can't face the possibility of his imminent death, and Babette becomes increasingly paranoid about his own mortality. Part disaster movie, part surreal American epic, "White Noise" stunned critics with its clumsy transitions and awkward length. Baumbach's directorial uncertainty overshadows the film's brilliance, though Driver does a fine job as the neurotic Jack -- an expert on "Hitler studies" and a loving, if distraught -- father. Performances and a satirical look at what it means to be American.
6. While We're Young (2014)
Josh, a happy middle-aged couple and Cornelia Srebnick (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) fall in love with a pair of sassy millennials Jamie and Darby Massey (Adam Driver and Oman Da Seyfried). Jamie, a tactical upstart looking to gain access to Cornelia's father, a renowned documentary filmmaker, is flattered by Jamie's attention, something Josh and Cornelia initially don't realize The narcissistic and transactional nature of people until it's too late. Josh mistook Jamie's enthusiasm for sincerity, and was later enraged by his blatant fabrication, while Cornelia was embarrassed by agreeing. As usual, the film is full of interesting reflections on the burdens of family relationships and the struggles of midlife artistic relevance, but it's also a humorous take on the Gen X-versus-millennial generation gap. The older, established couple eventually rejects the younger couple's ever-climbing social circle, but there are bumps along the way. In the end, however, they concluded that Jamie "isn't evil, he's just young".
5. Marriage Story (2019)
Another bitter comedy meditation on family breakdown by Baumbach, "Marriage Story" has been praised for its depiction of how the legal system pits divorced couples against each other even as they try to keep their relationship amicable. Although modern in many ways An incarnation of its more influential 1970s predecessor, Kramer vs. Kramer, Marriage Story contains a valuable look at the pitfalls of artistic genius — a performance underscored by Adam Driver as ego-absorbed director Charlie. one; and his soon-to-be ex-wife, budding TV actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), who has always craved her own success. The couple's resentment and frustration manifest themselves in the divorce proceedings, when each must file a claim against their young son, Henry (Azhy Robertson). As the characters' parenting practices are challenged by their respective lawyers in a brutal court battle, the film offers a keen look at the onerous and often gendered expectations that come with parenting and the complexities of divorce proceedings. As Nicole's lawyer (Laura Dern, in an Academy Award-winning performance) astutely claims, "fatherhood was invented thirty years ago."
4. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
Baumbach in this bittersweet tale of parenting Parallel family stories are deftly handled in the comedy. In the film, the Meyerowitz family is forced to reunite due to the failing health of an aging, irascible artist father (Dustin Hoffman). Three middle-aged siblings - played by Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Elizabeth Marvel - the product of his tumultuous early marriage - take on competing memories Their selfish and domineering father figure and the chaos he's caused over the decades. But despite their shared pain, they're able to maintain a sense of levity, amplified by the presence of their eccentric stepmother (the brilliant Emma Thompson). Like the squid and the whale, Meyerowitz's story examines the long-term effects of parental narcissism, and the ways in which artistic genius and ego can dwarf and distort family relationships. Each sibling is forced to consider the merits of their father's supposed genius and its comically flat reality. Their reliance on family mythology to make his parenting acceptable becomes increasingly heartbreaking, even in Baumbach's signature asides. "I have to believe [Daddy] is talented," Ben Stiller's character memorably says, "or he's a jerk."
3. Mistress America (2015)
Lonely college student Tracey (Lola Kirk) She's skeptical when she learns her father is remarrying, but she's quickly reassured by the presence of her future stepsister, Brooke (the charismatic Greta Gerwig). The pair's misadventures in New York culminate when Brooke becomes obsessed with starting her own restaurant business named after her late mother. Featuring Baumbach's signature snappy dialogue and zany, understated performance Gerwig, Mistress America is an endearing portrayal of female friendship and mentorship with a slight twist. The juxtaposition of Tracy's precocious college student and Brooke's boring twenties makes us empathize with both age groups. While both characters are at times self-destructive, Baumbach's irony and Gerwig's visceral enthusiasm as a performer keep it from being a mere study of youthful confusion and narcissism.
2. The Squid and the Whale (2005)
Baumbach's autobiographical Sleepy hit stars a young Jesse Eisenberg as Walter Berkman, a vigilant teenager whose parents Bernard (Jeff Daniels) and Joan (Laura Linney) is going through a painful divorce in 1980s Brooklyn. Walter sided with his father in the split, while his younger brother Frank (Owen Klein) grew closer to their mother. However, the brothers grow disillusioned with the behavior of their parents -- especially their father, Bernard, who brings Lily (Anna Paquin), an impressionable undergrad, home to live with him. Their parents' breakup marks the beginning of adulthood, and Walter and Frank, though diametrically opposed, struggle with that possibility. More than a coming-of-age story, though, "The Squid and the Whale" is a powerful and tender examination of the precarious nature of divorce. Baumbach decided to explore Bernard and Joan's Through the separation of his adolescent characters, viewers can experience the childish and self-driven nature of the couple's marital conflict. Our sympathy turns to their children, though their limited knowledge of the situation reveals a surprising blind spot and emotional immaturity in Bernard and Joan. Ultimately, "The Squid and the Whale" is a scathing commentary and critique of adult self-absorption.
1. Frances Ha (2012)
No-frills 20-something Frances Halliday (Greta Gerwig) is trying to gain a foothold in Brooklyn, but is terrified of losing her best friend, Sophie (Mitch Sumner), who reveals that she Got engaged and moved to a more luxurious place in Tribeca. As Frances tries to launch her own dance business—all while dealing with eccentric roommates, dead-end jobs, and awkward dinner parties—viewers know the real struggles of trying to succeed in New York. The film's black-and-white photography beautifully depicts this dilemma, while the simple premise and tortuous dialogue accentuate the millennial immaturity of the characters' self-awareness. While Baumbach's trademark deadpan humor and subtle social satire are at their best here, it's Gerwig's unaffected and utterly naturalistic performance that makes Frances Ha Ha) transcended the "Neurotic New Yorker" genre and evolved into a beautiful and profound rendition Female friendship and coming of age. Frances Ha is both a crowd pleaser and a serious, honest piece of cinema.