Everything I Know About Love I Learned From…Noah Baumbach

by Andrew Osborne

I should probably hate Noah Baumbach. After all, the Brooklyn-born, Vassar-educated son of a novelist and a Village Voice critic wrote and directed his first independent feature at twenty-six, married a movie star (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and gets to make artsy personal films with fellow scions of upper-middle-class intelligentsia like Wes Anderson and second-generation show-biz aristocrats like Ben Stiller (and, well, Jennifer Jason Leigh).

Yet, for all the privilege of his upbringing, Baumbach’s movies are surprisingly relatable to overeducated neurotics from all walks of life. And while the auteur’s effete, hyper-articulate strain of navel-gazing may not be everyone’s cup of fair-trade chai, his films consistently offer a far more realistic portrayal of real-world relationships than cynical Hollywood swill like your average Gerard Butler “romantic” “comedy.”

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