GREENBERG Review

There was a layer of uncertainty in approaching 'Greenberg'. I was initially engaged with the film because of Stiller. I am an avid fan of his, especially his films he has directed. So to see him go off the beaten path here and try some character-driven material was something I have been waiting to see. There is no real plot here, as evidenced by its beginning and ultimately its final shot. This is simply an excerpt from a critical time in one mans life. That time period just happens to be when he isn't "doing much' in terms of what you normally expect a 40 year-old man to be doing in his day to day life or have accomplished by that point in his life. Roger Greenberg is a tad different though, fresh out of a "hospital" he has arrived at his vacationing brothers house in LA for six weeks. These six weeks give us as a viewer the opportunity to see Greenberg reconnect with old friends that he has had bumpy relationships with since he made some decisions they didn't agree with fifteen years prior. We slowly learn these details and as we get to know Greenberg more his environment also teaches us about him as well as his interaction with people giving us glimpses of his past and what has caused him to be the man he is today. It is very profound, some of the assertions he makes. The whole crisis of living a life that you never really expected to live is a big question and is really what Baumbach is trying to explore here. That thought and ultimate reality that the life you knew you would have as a child isn't going to come true is worth exploring, especially in the psyche of someone such as Greenberg. The film is a kind of psychological study, but it is also a nicely acted drama. From the lovely Greta Gerwig, who I haven't seen before this to Rhys Ifans, this is simply a pleasant cast that all seem to show our title character a little too much sympathy and give him one too many chances. Greenberg is brutally honest at times as well as being more rude than anything else, but Stiller gives a performance that makes him durable and makes us enjoy watching his life play out. 'Greenberg' is slowly paced and is essentially a character study, but I enjoyed the genuine moments between the people here, as well as the people and the dog. Touching stuff.