The Meyerowitz Stories
|The Meyerowitz Stories|
(New and Selected)
Film release poster
|Directed by||Noah Baumbach|
|Written by||Noah Baumbach|
|Music by||Randy Newman|
|Edited by||Jennifer Lame|
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed and written by Noah Baumbach. The film stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel and Emma Thompson, and follows a group of dysfunctional adult siblings trying to live in the shadow of their father.
The Meyerowitz Stories was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section and also won the Palm Dog award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised Baumbach's script and direction as well as the performances, with Sandler especially singled out for praise. It was released in select theaters and on streaming by Netflix on October 13, 2017.
The film was the second Netflix film competing at Cannes – along with Okja – which caused a clash with the jury president Pedro Almodóvar, who sided with the opinion that Cannes Film Festival films should be made for big screens, not online streaming. In 2017, the Cannes Film Festival announced a new rule, which requires a film competing at Cannes to "commit itself to being distributed in French movie theatres". A French law mandates that films cannot be shown on streaming services for 36 months after their theatrical release, effectively blocking Netflix films from future festivals.
After separating from his wife, unemployed Danny Meyerowitz (Adam Sandler) moves in with father Harold (Dustin Hoffman), a retired Bard College art professor and sculptor, and his third wife, Maureen (Emma Thompson), a pleasant if foggy alcoholic. Danny has a younger sister, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), and they have a younger half-brother, Matthew (Ben Stiller). Danny is close to his daughter, Eliza (Grace Van Patten), who is starting college at Bard as a film student. Eliza shows one of her sexually-obsessed films to her family, who try hard not to show they are taken aback and instead compliment its energy and production values. Some of Harold's work has been selected as part of a faculty group show at Bard, but Harold refuses to be part of a group show. Danny and Harold attend the MoMA retrospective of a friend and contemporary of Harold's, the more successful L.J. Shapiro (Judd Hirsch). There neither father nor son feels comfortable; Harold is stung by signs that the art world has forgotten him and chooses to literally run away down the street. Danny meets Shapiro's daughter, his childhood friend Loretta (Rebecca Miller), but he must leave to chase after Harold.
Harold's younger son Matthew, a successful financial advisor to rock stars on the other side of the continent in Los Angeles, is in New York on business and meets Harold for lunch with an accountant friend. They try to counsel Harold to sell his Manhattan home and the sculpture stored there, since Harold and Maureen can barely pay the townhouse's utilities. Harold tells them that whether to sell the house will be a private family decision and stalks out. At a third restaurant he criticizes the prices, but orders lavishly once Matthew says he'll pay. Soon he decides he has been insulted and robbed as well, and the rapidly regressing Matthew is inveigled into another scene involving running, chasing and embarrassment. The two bond slightly in self-righteous indignation. That evening they pay a visit to Matthew's mother, Harold's second wife Julia (Candice Bergen), who has since married a man named Cody, a wealthy philistine. Julia tells Harold and Matthew that she is sorry she was not a better mother to Harold's three children; her directness makes them very uncomfortable and they can't leave fast enough. Matthew resents Harold for his preference for a life of art over money. "I beat you!", he screams at his father's departing Volvo.
Harold is diagnosed with a chronic subdural hematoma. He enters hospital, where as the days pass his children learn to manage his care themselves, after first leaning on Harold's doctor and nurse to take that responsibility. Outside the hospital Jean tells her brothers that the family friend who happens to be visiting Harold at the moment sexually harassed her when she was a child. Matthew and Danny let her walk away from them, then attack the friend's car with mounting exhilaration. At Bard to represent their father at the faculty group show, Matthew and Danny get into a fight, of sorts, on the quad; later, bloody and crying, each makes drug-addled remarks in Harold's place, mostly about themselves. As Harold convalesces at Maureen's place in the country (the townhouse having been sold, despite Matthew's change of heart), it dawns on Matthew and Harold that Harold's favorite sculpture "Matthew", a lifelong object of resentment for Danny and Jean, was probably based on his feelings for the child Danny. Danny, who up to now has been solicitous toward his father, refuses to care for him while Maureen is away and accepts his brother's offer of a trip to California. On the way to the plane he meets Loretta, now single, and she suggests they go together to the screening of a film Eliza has made. In the basement of the Whitney Eliza uncovers the sculpture lent by her grandfather, long believed to have been lost.
- Dustin Hoffman as Harold Meyerowitz, a moderately successful sculptor and retired college professor. Has been married four times, although the first marriage was annulled.
- Adam Sandler as Danny Meyerowitz, Harold's son. Currently unemployed and separated from his wife but musically gifted.
- Ben Stiller as Matthew Meyerowitz, Danny's half-brother and Harold's son. A successful financier who lives across the country and is currently separated from his wife.
- Elizabeth Marvel as Jean Meyerowitz, Danny's sister and Matthew's half-sister. Harold's daughter. Works for Xerox.
- Emma Thompson as Maureen, Harold's fourth wife, a gentle alcoholic.
- Grace Van Patten as Eliza Meyerowitz, Danny's daughter. A film student who makes provocative short films.
- Candice Bergen as Julia, Harold's third wife and Matthew's mother.
- Judd Hirsch as L.J. Shapiro, a successful artist and Harold's old friend.
- Rebecca Miller as Loretta Shapiro, L.J.'s daughter.
- Adam Driver as Randy, one of Matthew's clients.
- Sakina Jaffrey as Dr. Malini Soni, a doctor at the hospital.
- Gayle Rankin as Pam, a nurse at the hospital.
- Matthew Shear as Gabe
- Sigourney Weaver as herself
Principal photography on the film began on March 7, 2016 in New York City. Hospital footage was filmed at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Production concluded on May 9, 2016.
The film was released in select theaters and streaming on Netflix on October 13, 2017.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 160 reviews, and an average rating of 7.7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) observes the family dynamic through writer-director Noah Baumbach's bittersweet lens and the impressive efforts of a remarkable cast." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and praised the cast and script, saying: "They’re a smart and sophisticated and relatively privileged bunch, but they’re miserable and ridiculous, which makes for some poignant insights and some sharp comedy. We enjoy the Meyerowitz clan, even as we praise the heavens we’re not like them and we don’t live next door to any of ’em." Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers also gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, writing, "Noah Baumbach's funny, literate story gives Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller plum roles – and may be the best thing he's ever done."
Peter Debruge of Variety gave the film a positive review, calling it the best Netflix film to date and praising Sandler's performance, writing: "With no shtick to fall back on, Sandler is forced to act, and it’s a glorious thing to watch – even for those fans who like him best in perpetual man-child mode (don’t worry: the character is a full-grown variation on that familiar Sandler prototype)." Other critics were equal with their praise of Sandler, with various outlets calling his performance a "triumph," "miraculously great" and that "it's time to admit that Adam Sandler is actually a good actor."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Boston Society of Film Critics||December 10, 2017||Best Cast||The cast of The Meyerowitz Stories||Won|||
|Cannes Film Festival||May 26, 2017||Palme D'Or||Noah Baumbach||Nominated|||
|Palm Dog Award||Einstein||Won|||
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||January 11, 2018||Best Actor in a Comedy||Adam Sandler||Nominated|||
|Golden Tomato Awards||January 3, 2018||Best Comedy Movie 2017||The Meyerowitz Stories||5th Place|||
|Gotham Independent Film Awards||November 27, 2017||Best Actor||Adam Sandler||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Film Awards||November 5, 2017||Hollywood Comedy Award||Adam Sandler||Won|||
|Humanitas Prize||February 16, 2018||Feature – Comedy||Noah Baumbach||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||February 10, 2018||Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Dustin Hoffman||Nominated|||
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