The Meyerowitz Stories
By James Davidson
“The Meyerowitz Stories” is a Netflix original movie that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. It tells the story of three estranged siblings; Danny, Jean, and Matthew Meyerowitz, as they gather to attend an art show for their father, Harold. Harold (played by Dustin Hoffman) is an aging artist whose career never blossomed as he hoped. He never had a good relationship with any of his children, or their mothers, and is suffering the consequences.
The three siblings are played by Adam Sandler (Danny), Elizabeth Marvel (Jean), and Ben Stiller (Matthew). They all have strained relationships with each other, as well as their father. The siblings must learn to get along with each other and help their aging father get the artistic recognition that he feels that he deserves.
I was expecting, with Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller starring, this would be an irreverent, simple comedy that those actors typically star in. I was pleasantly surprised to watch a thoughtful, enriching story with fantastic characters, with just the right amount of comedy thrown in.
Adam Sandler leads an all-star cast that includes Judd Hirsch and Emma Thompson. The acting in this film is simply stellar and easily the best part of the movie. I was a bit sceptical once I realized that it was a serious movie, I wasn’t sure if Sandler and Stiller could headline in a serious, artful movie like this. However, they really carried the story and were a pleasure to watch them portray these characters as they each dealt with their own internal issues. All of the actors in the film did an amazing job portraying their respective characters and were really believable while dealing with their relationships and feelings.
While this might not be the most exciting movie, it did get a little slow in places, the story held my attention with ease. The storyline got a little confusing in places and kind of jumped around a bit, making it slightly hard to follow, but was intriguing and entertaining. It was fun watching the characters overcome their personal demons and hang ups throughout the story. This journey is definitely about relationships and focuses on the siblings’ relationship with each other and their father.
The movie has serious tones throughout most of the story, but there is comedy thrown in to keep it from getting too heavy. The comedy is more subtle than most of Sandler’s or Stiller’s other movies though. This movie doesn’t slap you in the face with jokes until one makes you laugh. It uses humorous situations and undertones to lighten the mood when needed. There were, however, shades of Sandler’s and Stiller’s typical comedy in this story. Danny’s daughter, Eliza (played by Grace Van Patten) is going to art school for film making, and occasionally sends the family borderline pornographic films that she is making for school. I think that these scenes are supposed to be humorous, but I found that they just felt out-of-place and unnecessarily vulgar in an otherwise wonderful movie.
“The Meyerowitz Stories” is rated TV-MA for sex, nudity, and language. I believe that rating is mostly due to the very graphic movies sent from Eliza to the family and the occasional profanity laced tirade. This movie is not appropriate for children at all due to the few graphic sex scenes.
“THe Meyerowitz Stories” is a smart, well-acted movie that can unfortunately get a little dull. It’s very artfully shot and wonderfully acted, but the story can get a little confusing until the end. I really enjoyed this movie and it is a great way to pass some time while stuck in the house. It earns 3.5 out of 5 stars.