Neu­rotic New York­ers on Net­flix cre­ate mar­vel­lous mo­ments

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The Meyerowitz Sto­ries (15) Ver­dict: In­tense but funny

THIS week’s best new re­lease is a film avail­able to watch in your home, as long as you have the on­line ser­vice Net­flix.

The Meyerowitz Sto­ries, writ­ten and di­rected by Noah Baum­bach, fea­tures a stel­lar cast in­clud­ing Dustin Hoff­man, Adam San­dler, Ben Stiller, Emma Thomp­son, Candice Ber­gen, Re­becca Miller and Adam Driver — with orig­i­nal mu­sic by Randy New­man, to add some gold to the tin lid.

It is about a large, dys­func­tional fam­ily, its nar­ra­tive driven by quick­fire, neu­rotic, New York Jewish wit. The film is di­vided into ti­tled chap­ters, most of them no­tion­ally con­cen­trat­ing on a dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter, be­gin­ning with talk­a­tive, tightly-wound Danny Meyerowitz (San­dler), a house-hus­band who is about to wave his daugh­ter off to col­lege.

Just as she is spread­ing her wings, his are be­ing clipped; he is mov­ing back in with his dad, Harold (Hoff­man, left), a sculp­tor who has never had the ac­co­lades he thinks he de­serves.

Hoff­man is mar­vel­lous at con­vey­ing the ex­is­ten­tial hurt of an el­derly artist who feels un­fairly over­looked and whose grumpi­ness can­not con­ceal his en­dur­ing need for ap­proval. He gets pre­cious lit­tle from his al­co­hol-sod­den wife (Thomp­son).

Danny has a sis­ter, Jean (El­iz­a­beth Mar­vel), but their fa­ther has never made any se­cret of his pref­er­ence for their half-brother, Matthew (Stiller), a show­biz ac­coun­tant in LA. Old Harold’s flaws as a par­ent come into even sharper fo­cus when he is hos­pi­talised and seems about to die. This is in­tense but it is also very funny. Baum­bach is ter­rific at mar­ry­ing sear­ing poignancy with sharp com­edy — and watch­ing Hoff­man, 50 years af­ter his film de­but, still feels like a


Mar­vel­lous: Dustin Hoff­man

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