Greenberg (2010) – Film Review
Director: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Ben Stiller, Great Gerwig, Chris Messina
by Matt Callard
Understated and precise, Greenberg is a darkly comic character study offering up a best-ever role for Ben Stiller.
Roger Greenberg is a failed musician housesitting for his brother in the Hollywood Hills. He’s wondering quite how life has somehow set him so far adrift.
He’s a fairly obnoxious character – full of self-absorption, delusion and neuroses. In fact, it’s a skilful piece of storytelling by director Noah Baumbach and co-star Jennifer Jason-Leigh to slowly and quite deliberately peel away his layers. Eventually, slowly, you start to understand and, ultimately, feel for the man.
“Hard stare into the social abyss”
Stiller is deadpan throughout. His usual brand of smug overstatement entirely absent. But he still delivers laughs aplenty, particularly during one awful, memorable scene at a party where the generation gap is apparent, less a bridge to cross, but more a gaping wound.
A fulfilling film. And a long hard stare into the social abyss.