Margot at the Wedding continues the trend of watching parents messing up their kids (and siblings, and really anyone else who crosses their path), but features a broader palette of characters, which makes a big difference. Although Nicole Kidman is a monster, you actually find yourself sympathizing with her, partly because she's portrayed in a variety of situations that let you, occasionally, glimpse her better side. Because the movie includes other perspectives, it's less insistently focused on her narcissism, which has the strange feature of making you feel less compelled to imagine her perspective, and thus actually inspires you to do it. Funny, that.
Meanwhile, there's also a lot of humor in the movie, and not only of the bitter, dark variety. While it's ultimately a pretty depressing movie, it feels less like an onslaught of misery and more like a balanced, realistic account, albeit of some more-messed-up-than-usual people.
The most fascinating aspect of the film, to me, was the relationship between Jack Black and Jennifer Jason Leigh, who were both phenomenal. Jack Black in particular really shined as a tragi-comic figure. Although my friend Ruchama said that she just couldn't take him seriously, I thought his character was quite ingenious - though I also have a soft spot for characters that one simultaneously finds tragic and amusing. There's something really interesting to me about characters that you feel sorry for, but also can't help but laugh at, though you almost feel guilty about doing so. There's an amazing scene where he's sobbing pitifully on the phone, and while his pain is quite heartrending, you're also chuckling at his incoherent, tear-soaked rambling.
Secondly, the portrayal of their relationship is really well done. The sub-plot of their trials and tribulations is a really interesting exploration of relationships, forgiveness, love, etc. Quite moving. There's this great scene where they're going to bed, Jack Black is in his underwear and Jennifer Jason Leigh is in pyjamas, the unbuttoned top giving you an occasional flash of her breasts, and the casual intimacy of the moment is beautifully rendered. Much more compelling, incidentally, than a later scene of Nicole Kidman masturbating, which seems kind of gratuitous (not that I'm _really_ complaining...). Actually, this is another nice aspect of the film - the way it manages to show supposedly risque things like breasts and marijuana, but integrate them casually into the daily life of the characters in a way that feels quite genuine rather than sensational.
A good movie, worth checking out.