After The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding, Noah Baumbach returns to directing with Greenberg, comedy (needless to say) a bittersweet starring Ben Stiller which threatens to monopolize the film too.
Roger Greenberg, a 40-year old who has not yet found its place in life, back from a psychiatric hospital because of a serious nervous breakdown, he left New York and moved to Los Angeles a few weeks in the house of the family of his brother, left with his wife and children for a holiday in Vietnam. In Los Angeles Roger reunited with an old friend who was playing in a band wrecked because of him, and most importantly begin a bizarre non-relationship with Florence, the young factotum of his brother.
Compared to his two previous films (the sottovalutatissimi and unacknowledged The Squid and the Whale and my sister’s wedding), Noah Baumbach acts of zoom and focus its field of observation and analysis: from singular and subjective dynamics that made up a mosaic of relationships on the complex of a household, the story of a single protagonist struggling with personal problems and all the more, rather than pseudo-derivation friendly atmosphere.
The Greenberg Noah Baumbach is a man who at forty still has to learn to live with himself even before the other, the victim of character impulses prompted by fear and insecurity, convinced that “trying to do anything” is chosen instead of fleeing affirmative denial. And Greenberg Baumbach has written and dotted with intelligence and sensitivity, particularly in relation to the other figure oblique and damaged the film, Florence, which, although “only” 25 year old is plagued with potential problems very similar to Roger. And it is from their meeting – and partly from that with an old friend of Roger played by Rhys Ifans – who unravel the many streams that flow of a narrative of the many cracks in the soul of its protagonists.
In this context, however, marked by a revival a bit ‘conventional many issues and situations typical of a certain kind of American independent cinema, but the figure is part of Greenberg’s Ben Stiller. Iconic figures as too intrusive, and not quite able to disassemble and work less to enslave all of the needs of the script with Stiller in the movie moves too freely, even unintentionally ending up damaging many nuances, so many delicacies, many whispers. Roger Greenberg is a character Ben Stiller, with all that that entails. And Greenberg is more likely to look like a movie from Ben Stiller that one of Noah Baumbach.
And it is, paradoxically, in the scenes between Roger and Florence mentioned that this becomes more evident: the contrast between the style of the Hollywood star’s performance contrasted with that of the young and talented Greta Gerwig, a real rising star in the galaxy capable indie to be fully functional and subservient to the character and needs.