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The Squid and the Whale
Director: Noah Baumbach (Dir)
Release Date:   2005
Premiere Information:   Sundance Film Festival: 24 Jan 2005; Toronto Film Festival: 13 Sep 2005; New York opening: 5 Oct 2005; Los Angeles opening: 14 Oct 2005
Production Date:   mid-Jul 2004--mid-Aug 2004
Duration (in mins):   80-81 or 88
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Cast: In Order of Appearance Owen Kline (Frank Berkman)  
    Jeff Daniels (Bernard Berkman)  
    Laura Linney (Joan Berkman)  
    Jesse Eisenberg (Walt Berkman)  
    William Baldwin (Ivan)  
    David Benger (Carl)  
    Anna Paquin (Lili)  
  Graduate students Molly Barton    
    Bo Berkman    
    Matthew Kaplan    
    Simone Kaplan    
    Matthew Kirsch    
    Daniella Markowicz    
    Elizabeth Meriwether    
    Ben Schrank    
    Amy Srebnick    
    Josh Srebnick    
    Emma Straub    
    Alan Wilks    
    James Hamilton (Man with Joan)  
    Adam Rose (Otto)  
    Henry Glovinsky (Lance)  
    Eli Gelb (Jeffrey)  
    Halley Feiffer (Sophie Greenberg)  
  Talent show judges Wayne Lawson    
    Michael Santiago    
    Juan Torriente    
    Patricia Towers    
    Peggy Gormley (Mrs. Greenberg)  
    Peter Newman (Mr. Greenberg)  
    Greta Kline (Greta Greenberg)  
    Melissa Meyer (Professor)  
    Benjamin Smolen (Student with puppets)  
    Michael Countryman (Mr. Simic)  
    Alexandra Daddario (Pretty girl)  
    Nico Baumbach (Jeb Gelber)  
    Maryann Plunkett (Ms. Lemon)  
    Hector Otero (Hector)  
    Ken Leung (School therapist)  
    Jo Yang (Nurse)  

Summary: In 1986, in Brooklyn, New York, a Berkman family tennis game ends unpleasantly when Bernard, a noted author and professor, lobs a powerful ball that hits his wife, Joan. Joan stalks angrily off the court, stung by the ball and Bernard’s aggressive behavior. The next morning, their twelve-year-old son Frank discovers that Bernard spent the night on the sofa bed. Although Frank adores his mother, his sixteen-year-old brother Walt admires Bernard, and dismisses as amateur Joan’s recent work as a writer. Bernard, who values intellect above any other quality, brings Walt to a university writing class he teaches, where Walt is exposed to a sexually explicit story written by a seductive twenty-four-year-old student, Lili. While driving home, Bernard hails Lili’s story as risky, post-modern writing and urges Walt to read the work of Franz Kafka, whom Bernard champions as his own literary predecessor. Bernard and Walt bond further after seeing Joan talking intimately with an unfamiliar man on the street; Bernard becomes suspicious and Walt’s contempt for his mother deepens. Following a particularly nasty argument, Bernard and Joan announce they are getting a divorce and that the boys, and their cat, will evenly split their time between two homes. Both boys are distraught, but Walt blames his mother for the split. When Bernard introduces the boys to his ramshackle new house, which he describes as “elegant,” it is evident he has given little thought to their tastes or comfort. Tension flares between the boys after Frank complains about the house and defends Joan, and a resentful Walt briefly and painfully pins Frank to the floor. Walt’s resentment toward Joan is vindicated when Bernard reveals that Joan has been having affairs for years, although Bernard believes she left him because his recent work has been unsuccessful. Despite Joan’s attempt to discuss the matter with her son, Walt refuses to continue staying with her. Meanwhile, Frank’s behavior has deteriorated: he is secretly obsessed with sex, drinks beer and after masturbating in the school library, spreads his semen on a bookshelf. Walt’s days are complicated by the discovery that his mother once slept with his friend Otto’s father. At the same time, Walt, who ignorantly parrots what his father says about books and writers, becomes involved with his first girl friend, Sophie Greenberg. Bernard, already parsimonious and insensitive, becomes more self-absorbed than ever after receiving a rejection letter from a publisher. He shows little interest when Frank is sick, and insists on playing an overly competitive ping-pong game with him, during which Bernard advises Frank, who aspires to be a tennis pro like his teacher Ivan, that he is in danger of becoming a philistine. One evening, Walt witnesses the warmth of a normal family when Sophie invites him to dinner with her family. However, familial normalcy slips even farther from Walt’s grasp after Bernard invites Lili, on whom Walt has a mild crush, to rent a room in his house. Bernard further fails both his sons in one night by leaving Frank alone at home while he takes Walt and Sophie to see Blue Velvet , an embarrassingly sexually perverse film, after which Bernard accepts Sophie’s money to help pay for dinner. Frank runs to his mother’s house and discovers she is having an affair with Ivan, whom he idolizes. Soon after, Bernard and Lili start having an affair, while on the same night, Walt and Sophie, both virgins, begin exploring sex. When Walt later wins a prize at the school talent contest by playing a Pink Floyd song that he claims he wrote, his parents, unaware that the song was plagiarized, are proud of his apparent achievement. Nevertheless, Walt is so insulting to Joan that she slaps him. Bernard also receives a blow when, over dinner, Lili tells him that an excerpt from Joan’s soon-to-be published novel has appeared in The New Yorker magazine. After dinner, a confused Walt lashes out at Sophie and ends their relationship. Some time later, Joan and Ivan go out of town, expecting that Bernard will pick up Frank for the weekend, but Bernard forgets about him and takes Walt and Lili to State University of New York at Binghamton, where he speaks at a poorly attended reading. Completely forgotten, Frank lays out his mother’s lingerie, plays with some condoms and throws up after getting drunk. Joan and Bernard soon must confront how deeply their divorce has affected their sons after the principals at both schools call them in for conferences; one about Frank’s masturbation and the other concerning Walt’s musical deceit. Each parent blames the other. However, Bernard reluctantly agrees for Walt to see a school therapist, who helps Walt finally to comprehend how much he misses his mother by prodding him to fondly recall their special closeness when he was a boy, particularly when she would quell his fear about an exhibit of a squid and a whale locked in combat at the American Museum of Natural History. His father, notably, was always absent. Walt returns to Bernard’s house, but after encountering Bernard attempting to force himself on Lili, Walt leaves and wanders the neighborhood alone. He eventually goes to see Joan, and after admitting his regret about breaking up with Sophie, they have an honest discussion. They are interrupted by Bernard, who makes a disingenuous offer at reconciliation, which Joan responds to with laughter. When Bernard angrily vows to fight for full custody, Joan claims he only wanted partial custody because it is less expensive than paying full child support. A stunned Walt reluctantly agrees to return to Bernard’s house after Frank refuses to go back, and Frank sweetly offers Walt temporary custody of their cat. However, the cat leaps out of Walt’s arms and hides under a parked car. Bernard tries to grab him, but is distracted by a police officer ticketing his double-parked auto, and the cat escapes again. Ivan arrives just as Bernard collapses from an apparent heart attack and Ivan and Walt ride with Bernard when he is taken away in an ambulance. In the morning, Bernard tells Walt that he collapsed from exhaustion, not a heart attack. When Walt reveals he does not want to return to Bernard’s house, Bernard admits he is hurt and insists that Walt has no choice in the matter. Bernard attempts to cajole Walt, and although they share a warm moment, a distrusting Walt abandons his father at the hospital without saying goodbye. Walt then runs to the Museum of Natural History, where he gazes intently at the squid and whale exhibit. 

Production Company: American Empirical Pictures  
  Ambush Entertainment  
  Andrew Lauren Productions  
  Peter Newman Productions  
  Original Media  
Production Text: A Film by Noah Baumbach
Distribution Company: Samuel Goldwyn Films  
  Sony Pictures Releasing International  
  Destination Films (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Director: Noah Baumbach (Dir)
  David Wechsler (1st asst dir)
  Eric Yellin (2d asst dir)
Producer: Wes Anderson (Prod)
  Peter Newman (Prod)
  Charlie Corwin (Prod)
  Clara Markowicz (Prod)
  Reverge Anselmo (Exec prod)
  Miranda Bailey (Exec prod)
  Greg Johnson (Exec prod)
  Andrew Lauren (Exec prod)
  Jennifer M. Roth (Co-prod)
Writer: Noah Baumbach (Wrt)
Photography: Robert D. Yeoman (Dir of photog)
  Nils Benson (Cam op)
  Storn Peterson (1st asst cam)
  Doug Kofsky (2d asst cam)
  Stephen Speers (2d asst cam)
  James Hamilton (Still photog)
  Nico Baumbach (Videographer)
  Bob Andres (Key grip)
  Allison Barton (Best boy grip)
  Evelina Andres (Grip)
  George Elias (Grip)
  Ira Paul Turner (Grip)
  Bobby Andres (Grip)
  Douglas W. Shannon (Gaffer)
  John Schwartz (Best boy elec)
  Gay Riedel (Elec)
  Keith Kalohelani (Elec)
  Bernard James (Elec)
  Scott Kincaid (Elec)
  Simeon Moore (Elec)
  Beth O'Brien (Elec)
  Chris Hayes (Elec)
  Lisa Marie Gleeson (Elec)
  Scott Maher (Elec)
  Dave Rudolph (Elec)
  Madeline Hartling (Cam scenic)
  Richard Laurenzi (Cam scenic)
  DuArt Film and Video (Dailies, Telecine and col by)
  ARRI Camera Service Center (Cam and lighting equipment)
Art Direction: Anne Ross (Prod des)
  Jennifer Dehghan (Art dir)
  Costanza Theodoli Braschi (Art dept asst)
  Jason Bruno (Art dept asst)
  Barker Gerard (Art dept asst)
  Lars Lindhal (Art dept asst)
  Laura Ng (Art dept asst)
  Mike Raisler (Art dept asst)
  Charles Siegel (Art dept asst)
  David Wexler (Art dept asst)
Film Editor: Tim Streeto (Ed)
  Perri B. Frank (Asst ed)
  Goldcrest (Offline editorial facility and audio post services)
  Noëlle Penraat (Negative cutter)
Set Decoration: Robert Covelman (Set dec)
  Jeff Butcher (Prop master)
  Nancy Griffith (1st asst props)
  Susan Tatom (Leadperson)
  James Sherman (On set dresser)
Costumes: Amy Westcott (Cost des)
  Karen Waiton (Asst cost des)
  Lisa Marzolf (Cost supv)
  Mei Lai Hippisley Coxe (Set cost)
Music: Dean Wareham (Mus)
  Britta Phillips (Mus)
  Daniel Antonio Srebnick (Addl mus)
  Randall Poster (Mus supv)
  Jim Dunbar (Mus coord)
  Christopher S. Parker (Mus clearance)
  Diego Garrido (Score mixed by)
Sound: Allan Byer (Sd mixer)
  Alfredo Viteri (Boom op)
  Lewis Goldstein (Supv sd ed/Re-rec mixer)
  Mark Filip (Sd eff ed)
  Julia Shirar (Dial ed)
  Rachel Chancey (Foley ed and recordist)
  Damian Volpe (ADR and Foley recordist)
  Jay Peck (Foley artist)
  Shaun Brennan (Foley artist)
  Derek Somaru (Post prod sd intern)
Special Effects: Leanne Shapton (Titles des)
  DuArt Digital (Digital opticals)
  Markus Janner (Digital opticals)
  Jennifer Russomanno (Digital opticals)
  Keith Yurevitz (Digital opticals)
Make Up: Lori Guidroz (Key hairstylist)
  Maya Hardinge (Key makeup artist)
Production Misc: Douglas Aibel (Casting)
  Stephanie Holbrook (Casting assoc)
  Ulysses Terrero, T & T Casting (Extras casting)
  Gimardi Cueto (Extras casting assoc)
  Jennifer M. Roth (Unit prod mgr)
  Hans Graffunder (Unit prod mgr)
  Massoumeh Emami (Scr supv)
  Steve Kornacki (Prod coord)
  Todd Judson (Asst prod coord)
  Deidre Schrowang (Prod accountant)
  Jason R. Stant (1st asst accountant)
  Deidre Schrowang (Post prod accounting)
  Michael Fucci (Loc mgr)
  Keith Krinsky (Asst loc mgr)
  Stacy Bissell (Loc asst)
  Chris Kenneally (Post prod supv)
  Joe Hobeck (Addl post prod supv)
  Kevin Flynn (Transportation capt)
  Jim Kelly (Grip and elec truck driver)
  Jason Buim (Cam/Sd truck driver)
  Louis Lapat (Prop truck driver)
  Daniel Beers (Asst for American Empirical)
  Lillian Parker (Asst for American Empirical)
  Chelsea Horenstein (Asst to Peter Newman)
  Richard Beaver (Asst to Andrew Lauren)
  Alyson Perlongo (Asst for Original Media)
  Lacey Leavitt (Asst to the prods)
  Susan Soh (Asst to Mr. Baumbach)
  Taylor Levy (Cam P.A.)
  Sophie Kaplan (Office prod asst)
  Carla Pisarro (Office prod asst)
  Tom Lee (Key set prod asst)
  Michael Altman (Set prod asst)
  Sandra Chwialkowski (Set prod asst)
  Erich Eilenberger (Set prod asst)
  Felix Grisebach (Set prod asst)
  Gabriel Koplowitz (Set prod asst)
  Martin Leicht (Set prod asst)
  Cecilia Morelli (Set prod asst)
  Ali Norod (Set prod asst)
  Oliver Refson (Set prod asst)
  Adam Shakinovsky (Set prod asst)
  Rebecca Taber (Set prod asst)
  Gerald Tonnegin (Set prod asst)
  Anthony Torre (Caterer)
  Gourmet To U (Caterer)
  Angelo Pina (Catering asst)
  Patrick Mahoney (Craft service)
  Donna Bascom (Prod counsel)
  Foote and Associates (Financing counsel)
  Walter Foote (Financing counsel)
  Film Finances, Inc. (Completion guarantor)
  AON/Albert G. Ruben (Insurance)
  Entertainment Partners, Inc. (Payroll services)
  City National Bank (Prod bank)
  Gotham Film Sales, Inc. (Sales representation)
Color Personnel: David Pultz (Col timer)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: “2 Intermezzi, Op. 76,” written by Johannes Brahms, performed by Luba Edlina, courtesy of Chandos.
Songs: “Hey You,” written by Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd, courtesy of EMI Records, under license from EMI Film & Television Music; "Hey You," written by Roger Waters, performed by Jesse Eisenberg, courtesy of EMI Records, under license from EMI Film & Television Music; “Courting Blues,” “Life Depends on Love,” “Bright New Year” and “Come Sing Me a Happy Song to Prove We All Can Get Along the Lumpy, Bumpy, Long and Dusty Road,” written and performed by Bert Jansch, courtesy of Sanctuary Records; “Love on a Real Train,” written by Franke Christoph, Edgar W. Froese & Johannes Schmoelling, performed by Tangerine Dream, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.; “Run to You,” written by Bryan Adams & Jim Vallance, performed by Bryan Adams, under license from Universal Music Enterprises; “Holland Tunnel,” written by John E. A. Phillips, performed by John Phillips, courtesy of Geffen Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises; “Lullaby” and “The Swimming Song,” written and performed by Loudon Wainwright III, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with SONY BMG Music Licensing; “Heart Like a Wheel,” written by Anna McGarrigle, performed by Kate & Anna McGarrigle, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc., by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing; “Kyrie,” performed by Greta Kline; “Drive,” written by Ric Ocasek, performed by The Cars, courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group, by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing; “Let’s Go,” written by Glenn K. Sybesma & William J. Clayton, performed by The Feelies, courtesy of Pravda Records, Inc.; “Figure 8,” written by Robert Dorough, performed by Blossom Dearie, courtesy of ABC, Inc.; “Street Hassle,” written and performed by Lou Reed, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, by arrangement with SONY BMG Music Licensing.
Composer: Bryan Adams
  Johannes Brahms
  Franke Christoph
  William J. Clayton
  Robert Dorough
  Edgar W. Froese
  Bert Jansch
  Anna McGarrigle
  Ric Ocasek
  John E. A. Phillips
  Lou Reed
  Johannes Schmoelling
  Glenn K. Sybesma
  Jim Vallance
  Loudon Wainwright III
  Roger Waters
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Squid and Whale, Inc. 0/0/2005 dd/mm/yyyy  

Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital
  col: Duart

Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: Domestic
  with songs
Subjects (Major): Authors
  Child custody
  Family relationships
  Separation (Marital)
Subjects (Minor): Adolescents
  American Museum of Natural History (New York City)
  Blue Velvet (Motion picture)
  College students
  High schools
  Franz Kafka
  New York City--Brooklyn
  Ping-pong (Game)
  Pink Floyd
  School superintendents and principals
  State University of New York (Binghamton)
  Talent contests
  Tennis and tennis players
  Tennis instructors

Note: The film opens with distribution company credits followed by the title credit; all other credits run after the film. The following performers were credited in a brief cast roll, before the full cast credits, in this order: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, William Baldwin, Halley Feiffer, Anna Paquin. Full cast and character credits were listed in order of appearance. The following dedication appears after the production company credits: "For Mannie.” A scene from the 1986, David Lynch-directed picture Blue Velvet , which appeared in the film was provided by MGM Clip+Still, and a scene from the long-running, ABC television series Three’s Company was provided by courtesy of DLT Entertainment, Ltd. Numerous individuals and companies are thanked in the ending credits, including directors Peter Bogdanovich and Sofia Coppola, the American Museum of Natural History and the residents of Park Slope, Brooklyn.
       A Nov 2002 DV news item reported that Bill Murray and John Turturro were initially considered for lead roles in the film as "Bernard Berkman" and "Ivan," respectively. According to an 8 Sep 2004 DV article, in late 2002, "based on Murray's verbal commitment, the strength of the script and [producer Wes] Anderson's involvement," producer Peter Newman was able to raise $7.1 million in financing. When the filmmakers could not obtain a written commitment from Murray, however, the financing fell through. After signing Jeff Daniels to play Bernard, and with partial funding in place, the producers were able to obtain a final budget of approximately $1.2 million. A 10 Apr 2003 Backstage West Dramalogue news item noted the film was then set to begin filming in May 2003. The Baseline Studio Systems website lists Redeemable Features among the production companies credited during pre-production; however, their involvement in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Numerous articles noted the following about the production: Director-writer Noah Baumbach based the screenplay in part on the divorce of his own parents, author Jonathan Baumbach and film critic Georgia Brown. Actor Jeff Daniels wore some of Jonathan Baumbach’s own clothing for the film, and Noah Baumbach shot on Super 16mm film stock to emulate movies of the 1980s. The film was shot on location in Brooklyn, in Park Slope and at Midwood High School, Baumbach’s alma mater. The Squid and the Whale marked the first major film role for Owen Kline, the son of actors Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline. Nico Baumbach, who plays "Jeb Gelber" in the film and served as the videographer, is Noah Baumbach's younger brother.
       In addition to being named one of AFI's ten Movies of the Year for 2005, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Baumbach for Best Original Screenplay, as well as being included in the "top ten" lists of several critics' groups. The picture won the 2005 Sundance Film Festival American Directing Award and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, and Baumbach tied with Dan Futterman, who wrote Capote (see above), for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Screenplay award. The picture was nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards, for Best Female Lead (Laura Linney), Best Male Lead (Jeff Daniels), Best Supporting Male (Jesse Eisenberg), Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Feature; a Writers Guild of America award for Original Screenplay; and Golden Globe awards for Best Musical or Comedy Picture, Best Motion Picture Actor--Comedy or Musical (Daniels) and Best Motion Picture Actor--Comedy or Musical (Linney). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
BackStage West Dramalogue   10 Apr 2003.   
Daily Variety   8 Feb 2001.   
Daily Variety   4 Nov 2002.   
Daily Variety   26 Jan 2005   p. 4, 10.
Daily Variety   9 Feb 2005.   
Entertainment Weekly   11 Feb 2005   p. 22.
Entertainment Weekly   14 Oct 2005   p. 128.
Esquire   Nov 2005.   
GQ   Oct 2005   p. 142.
Hollywood Reporter   28-30 Jan 2005   p. 24, 26.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Feb 2005   p. 3, 50.
Los Angeles Times   14 Oct 2005.   
LA Weekly   14-20 Oct 2005   pp. 35-36.
New York Times   5 Oct 2005.   
Premiere   Oct 2005   pp. 50-51.
Variety   8 Sep 2004   p. 36.
Variety   7 Nov 2005.   
Village Voice   28 Sep 2005.   

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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