Kait’s review published on Letterboxd:
jennifer jason leigh sweetie I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that your piece of shit ex-husband would even write this film, oh my god 😬
oof, this one was.....hard to watch, to say the least. I’m fortunate enough that I wasn’t as young as henry was when my own parents were going through the processes of separation and divorce, but there’s a reason why the phrase “child of divorce” exists—that experience sticks with you for the rest of your life, informing all of your subsequent interpersonal relationships, no matter if you were 8 or 16 when you went through it. there is so much that happened between my parents that I will forever wish I had never witnessed or overheard—screaming matches, holes punched through walls and doors, cold shoulders and passive-aggressiveness and just that ever-present smog of irreparable damage that colored their every interaction. watching this film made me feel super uncomfortable, yes, but also weirdly grateful that I wasn’t there for all of it—the worst of it all stayed between the two of them.
I think what might’ve bothered me the most about this film is how no matter how much it may have wanted to come across as equally fair to both nicole and charlie, it just....really, really was not lol. in my opinion, the narrative was very one-sided; I felt like the majority of the viewer’s sympathies were meant to lie with charlie. like, I guess most of it is the fact that so much of the film focused on how much he was struggling with the custody aspect of their divorce (which, don’t get me wrong, is totally valid! I certainly did feel for him!) felt very, like.....idk, reminiscent of that age-old sexist misconception that all mothers who divorce their husbands are evil cunts who are hell-bent on taking their children away from their husbands and making sure that he never sees them again? you know? like yes, we saw how much nicole was suffering in their marriage, how stifled and small she felt, and we got that incredible monologue early on in the film, but then at some point it just felt like it....took a turn and decided that the narrative was definitively taking a side, and that side was charlie’s. honestly, I think what it really boils down to is that it is extremely obvious to me as a viewer that this film was written by a man who went through a painful divorce, and that, whether it was a conscious choice or not, charlie’s character ended up being a self-insert of sorts. and I really don’t think it’s a stretch to say that lol
but enough bitching from me! I really enjoyed the performances here—particularly from the actors in supporting roles! laura dern was obviously amazing (when is she not?! step on me please ma’am!), but I absolutely loved alan alda, julie hagerty, and merritt wever as well. and even though I’m personally not a huge fan of adam driver, I have to admit that his performance was really incredible and impressive. and that score! it really was so beautiful and effective. randy newman did what he had to do!
aaaaaahhhh LOL I really did not mean for this to be so long and emotional and personal so my apologies 🥴 but props to you if you actually read this entire review! anyways, I’ll leave you with this: the evaluator was literally just a character plucked straight out of a yorgos lanthimos film and you cannot convince me otherwise. “I don’t know what tech is”? “thanks for the water”? the legend jumped out!