Margot at the Wedding

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Margot at the Wedding
Margot at the wedding.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Produced by Scott Rudin
Written by Noah Baumbach
Starring Nicole Kidman
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jack Black
John Turturro
Ciarán Hinds
Halley Feiffer
Cinematography Harris Savides
Edited by Carol Littleton
Distributed by Paramount Vantage
Release dates
  • November 16, 2007 (2007-11-16)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$10 million
Box office $2,897,757

Margot at the Wedding is a 2007 tragicomedy written and directed by Noah Baumbach. The film premiered on August 31, 2007 at the 34th Telluride Film Festival.


Margot (Nicole Kidman) is a successful but neurotic writer who brings her 11-year-old son Claude (Zane Pais) to spend a weekend visiting her free-spirited sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) on the eve of her wedding to Malcolm (Jack Black) at Pauline & Malcolm's home on Long Island. Margot disapproves of Pauline's choice of fiancé, which will become one of several sources of tension between the two sisters. Malcolm is also free-spirited, but also unsuccessful, unmotivated, socially inappropriate and "completely unattractive". Because much of Malcolm's time is spent dabbling in painting, playing music and writing letters to magazines, Margot feels that Pauline could do better. While in town, Margot will also be interviewed in a local bookstore by Dick Koosman (Ciarán Hinds), a successful author with whom Margot is collaborating on a screenplay. Dick's teenage daughter Maisie (Halley Feiffer) also visits the house.

Although Pauline is happy that Margot showed up, the two share a wellspring of tension. Margot disapproves of Pauline's life-choices - besides marrying Malcolm, Pauline is pregnant, a fact that she hasn't shared with Malcolm or her pre-teenage daughter Ingrid. Pauline resents how her life experiences have been used in Margot's writing. She is also incensed when Margot shares secrets told to her in confidence - including her pregnancy. Each of the sisters feels unfairly picked on by the other. Rather than take their frustrations out on each other, the sisters target those around them. Pauline twits her fiancé's sense of inadequacy. Margot skewers her son's physical and emotional awkwardness. As he grows up, Claude becomes more of a target of her merciless powers of observation.

Tensions come to a head twice. Margot's interview goes disastrously wrong when Dick's questions become personal. While Pauline interrogates him about emails he received from one of her 20-year-old students, Malcolm admits he kissed Maisie. Returning to the house, Pauline finds Maisie inside. Though Pauline says nothing, it's obvious to Maisie that Pauline knows the truth. Learning of Malcolm's inappropriate behavior with Maisie, Dick angrily beats Malcolm. After that Pauline and Ingrid escape Malcolm and the house with Margot and Claude.

Fleeing to a motel, Pauline angrily confronts Margot about how her life has been used in Margot's writing. The next day, as Margot advises her to finish her relationship with Malcolm, Pauline calls him. His misery keeps her from rejecting him outright, though it's not clear that she will abandon him.

Margot decides to stay with her sister, even as she sends Claude by bus to Vermont, to live with his father. As the bus pulls away with Claude, Margot has a change of heart and chases after it. Taking a seat next to a surprised Claude, Margot catches her breath.



Margot at the Wedding was shot from April–June 2006 in various New York locations including Shelter Island, Hampton Bays, East Quogue, Long Island and City Island, Bronx.

The script's working title was Nicole at the Beach, but it was changed when Kidman signed on.[1]


Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips acted as the film's music consultants, and the film "features the more obscure singer-songwriters that Baumbach is obsessed 70's post-Dylan folkie Steve Forbert, British singer-songwriter and occasional Pink Floyd guest Lesley Duncan, Brooklyn born singer songwriter Evie Sands (covered both Beck and Beth Orton) and New York Anti-folk artist Diane Cluck."[2]

  • "Northern Blue" by Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips
  • "Romeo's Tune" by Steve Forbert
  • "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" performed by Jack Black
  • "Genesis" by Jorma Kaukonen
  • "One Fine Summer Morning" performed by Evie Sands
  • "Goin' Down to Laurel" by Steve Forbert
  • "The Wagon" by Dinosaur Jr.
  • "Dear Mary" by Steve Miller Band
  • "See How We Are" performed by X
  • "Sunday Girl" performed by Zane Pais
  • "Everything Changes" by Lesley Duncan
  • "Union City Blue" by Blondie
  • "You and Me" by Alice Cooper
  • "Clair" by Gilbert O'Sullivan
  • "Easy to Be Around" by Diane Cluck
  • "Nothing Is Wrong" performed by The dB's
  • "That's All For Everyone" by Fleetwood Mac
  • "On and On" performed by Michael Medeiros
  • "Teen Angel" by Donovan
  • "Something on Your Mind" performed by Karen Dalton

Release and reception[edit]

The film premiered August 31, 2007 at the 34th Telluride Film Festival. It was also shown at the Toronto Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the Mill Valley Film Festival. The film opened in limited release in the United States on November 16, 2007. It opened in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2008 and at two cinemas in Melbourne, Australia on February 21, 2008.[3]

The film grossed US$1,995,043 in the United States and Canada and made US$2,897,757 worldwide.[4]

Critical response[edit]

Critics gave the film mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 52% based on reviews from 153 critics.[5] Metacritic gives the film an average score of 66 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.[6]


Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader named it the sixth best film of the year in a tie of a dozen mainstream releases.[citation needed] Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer named it the 7th best film of 2007,[7] Scott Foundas of LA Weekly named it the 8th best film of 2007,[7] and Kyle Smith of the New York Post named it the 9th best film of 2007.[7]

Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh Nominated
Satellite Award Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nicole Kidman Nominated
Satellite Award for Best Film – Musical or Comedy Noah Baumbach Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female Jennifer Jason Leigh Nominated
Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Cast Nominated
Best Film Noah Baumbach Nominated
Peñíscola Comedy Film Festival Best Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh Won
Best Director Noah Baumbach Won


External links[edit]