My Take: Netflix strikes gold in a non-thriller genre, after a long time !
Adam Sandler used to be an actor that I liked long ago (okay, don’t shoot me 🙂 ) and yet, his presence in this Netflix original made me skeptical about spending valuable time on it. My curiosity on what the Meyerowitz family had to offer got the better of me largely due to the presence of Dustin Hoffman (Harold) & Ben Stiller.(Mathew) in the cast and yet, it was Adam Sandler (Danny) who stole the show in the end.
It’s not often that an ordinary, every day comedy/drama would hold your interest every frame of the movie and director Noah Baumbach did just that. The story is all about the fragile dynamics of a dis-joint family where a self-obsessed/needy father, played by Hoffman, reunites with his three kids (played by Elizabeth Marvel (Jean), Sandler and Stiller) due to a series of events. From the word go, the family strikes a chord bordering tension and unresolved issues.
The story begins with Danny, a house-husband, in his 50’s is left in disarray after his adult daughter (Eliza) leaves for college and he separates from his wife as there is no longer anything that binds them together. He meets up with his father Harold, who was a once famous and now washed up contemporary artist, who still has not forgiven Danny for letting slip his passion for music slip. As the story unfolds we are introduced to the second troubled sibling, Jean, who was always there for the father and brothers when they needed her but sadly it was never reciprocated. Mathew the youngest of the siblings was the only person in the family who ‘knew how to make money’ and was doing good in life and happened to be the father’s favorite kid by far, despite not taking up the father’s passion for art. As the story unfolds, we get to see the Harold’s stubbornness, favoritism towards Matt, Danny’s bouts with anger caused by inferiority complex and the unconditional love from Eliza and Danny towards their family.
The movie is a slow paced drama with subtle dark humor intertwined at regular intervals. Adam Sandler is the standout performer in his best performance since the turn of the century. Dustin Hoffman did what Dustin Hoffman does. Elizebeth Marvel and Grace Van Patten were very good in their roles as well. Ben Stiller did not have too much to do in the movie and was okay in parts. The script was darn good and direction was decent.
In short, I would recommend this for people with a taste for slow paced, drama/comedy. Would not blow your mind and yet would not disappoint you either.