A lot of people were very surprised when Adam Sandler took on a serious role in Uncut Gems, a rare departure from his usual comedy style. But you only have to look at The Meyerowitz Stories to know that Sandler has some serious acting chops. Here he takes on the part of Danny Meyerowitz, the oldest child of Harold (Dustin Hoffman), an artist and sculptor who spent most of his life neglecting his children. That includes his daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel)and his youngest son, from his second marriage, Matthew (Ben Stiller).
All grown up but still harbouring a lot of resentment, the three siblings show up for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father. But before the event can take place, Harold gets ill and is soon in a coma. As they all rally around their father, they start to repair their own dysfunctional relationships and heal the wounds of their respective childhoods. Now, this all sounds very heavy but actually, there's a level of realism in the way they interact and talk to each other that is very relatable.
That's where the ‘stories' part of The Meyerowitz Stories comes in to play. This is a family tale, told from the perspective of each member but woven together to give you a great overall picture of how the pieces fit together. Harold's inflated sense of ego and his desire to have successful artistic children hits a nerve as Danny is artistic but not successful and Matthew is successful but not artistic – both disappointing their father in different ways. It's only when they spend a decent amount of time together that they see how their father impacted each of their lives.
There's something really captivating about The Meyerowitz Stories. You root for Danny, Jean and Matthew and you want them to come out from under the shadow of their father. It's a testament to how Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) created such likable but realistic characters. And all without wrapping it up in a sugary sweet bow. It's just a straight-up honest depiction of a family, good and bad, and it does it easily and with little fanfare. A really enjoyable and easy to watch movie that is well worth a watch.