The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) ★★★½


Apart from noting that this is my second-favorite Baumbach film (after the still-peerless Frances Ha), I'm not sure I can go into a lot of detail on The Meyerowitz Stories. I am still sorting out my reactions to this film. It is rich and detailed and features a plethora of outstanding performances (Grace Van Patten and Adam Sandler, in particular).

It's easy to understand Meyerowitz as a 1970s sculptor whose work had a brief heyday and soon fell out of fashion. We can point to real-life analogues like Mark Di Suvero or Kenneth Snelson. (And if Baumbach were not so committed to all things NYC, the Whitney would have been replaced wirh the Hirshhorn in Washington, D.C., the true repository of yesterday's sculpture.) Part of what makes The Meyerowitz Stories so emotionally insinuating is its sly specificity.

But it is also like gazing into a funhouse mirror, if not a crystal ball. Few things frighten me in daily life more than the possibility that I will age into an embittered also-ran in my chosen vocation. It should be clarified, I am afraid of the "also-ran" part, although I can make my peace with that. But I am terrified of the "embittered" part, becoming a man consumed with his old resentments and missed chances, serving as a miserable bad example for my amazing daughter.

I am never going to write for the New York Times. But I don't want that to make me an insufferable, uncaring bastard. And I worry sometimes that I am too weak and too petty to decisively avoid that terrible outcome.