Margot at the Wedding

Margot at the Wedding is an Americanized version of a Ingmar Bergman film that’s kind of like sticking your head in a vice and then swallowing a potion made from the effluvia that runs off the crushed dreams of an abused childhood. It’s all angst and pain and bitter regrets spat out between two sisters who viciously envy each other. Margot (Nicole Kidman) is a mentally unstable writer with a sexual fixation on her pubescent son. Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a middle-age English professor who sits in a fetid bathtub of failure and remorse. She’s getting married to Malcolm (Jack Black), a man who she thinks is beneath her, and who generally agrees with that sentiment. During the course of a horrific weekend of allegations and admissions of past and present affairs, mental illnesses, statutory rapes and incidents of incest, a story surfaces, told in lies, misunderstandings and arguments. If you can tolerate microscopic analysis of unpleasant but painfully human characters, and 90 minutes of nearly nonstop dialogue doesn’t scare you, Margot may be the film for you. It’s certainly brilliantly conceived, shot, written and acted, but it’s also designed to be unpleasant. But, of course, the best medicine tastes bad going down.

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