Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller are brothers trying to cope with family dysfunction in the second trailer for The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) from director Noah Baumbach. The Netflix film somewhat controversially played in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival where it received strong reviews, with Netflix fave Adam Sandler surprisingly being singled out for his solid performance as the self-loathing son of a smug intellectual (played by Dustin Hoffman).
Set in the world of the New York intelligentsia, The Meyerowitz Stories concerns an estranged group of siblings reluctantly coming together for an event honoring their aging sculptor father’s artistic work. It isn’t long before the dysfunctional brood is at each other’s throats, playing out old resentments with cutting wit and sometimes outright physical confrontation. The film’s first trailer dropped back in August.
Netflix has debuted a second trailer for The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (see above) highlighting the family dysfunction at the heart of the film. The trailer gives us some hint of the dynamic at play: Hoffman’s character Harold is an old, cranky, highly-respected man who is distant from his children. Baumbach veteran Stiller’s character Matthew is the most successful of Harold’s children, though he hasn’t followed in his father’s artistic footsteps, and Sandler’s Danny is the one who’s a bit of a loser. Much of the film concerns Danny’s relationship with his college-age daughter Eliza, played by Grace Van Patten.
Matthew and Danny have a very contentious relationship, as we can see by the trailer sequence where they get into a fight that looks like half-hearted schoolyard stuff at first then develops into a genuine scrap. The story also concerns Harold’s wife Maureen, played by a wild, bohemian-looking Emma Thompson. Elizabeth Marvel plays Jean Meyerowitz, Danny and Matthew’s mousy, unmarried sister. Candice Bergen also appears as Harold’s ex-wife and the mother of all his children.
Writer/director Noah Baumbach has always been interested in exploring such complicated family dynamics, clearly drawing on his own experiences growing up in New York intellectual circles as the son of a novelist and film critic. Baumbach’s characters are often hyper-articulate and super-energetic, and usually locked in competitive relationships that mostly play out via simmering resentment but sometimes explode into comedic moments of confrontation.
The Meyerowitz Stories may not look like anything particularly new to those who are familiar with Baumbach’s body of work – but even if he tends to tread the same ground over-and-over, Baumbach usually is able to find new variations that freshen up his pet themes and he’s always very good at getting performances. The Meyerowitz Stories cast also includes Adam Driver, Danny Flaherty, Judd Hirsch, Rebecca Miller and Sigourney Weaver.
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