Owing a lot to Frenchman Eric Rohmer’s films like Pauline at the Beach, Noah Baumbach’s latest feature, Margot at the Wedding, even goes so far as to name one of the lead characters (Jennifer Jason Leigh) Pauline.

With an intelligent and intellectual bent, Margot at the Wedding tells the story of Nicole Kidman’s Margot, a complicated and perhaps slightly unhinged writer who ventures home to see her sister’s wedding.

Funny and at times cringe-inducing, Baumbach captures many small and memorable moments of families struggling to be good to each other in the midst of long standing jealousies and competitions. Leigh and Kidman go all out as the two sisters stuck in a love-hate relationship, and Jack Black is a welcome relief, infusing humor to the tale.

The awkwardness and misunderstanding that plagues all of the characters and how they relate to each other sometimes gets the better of the writer/director. Unlike Baumbach’s pitch perfect The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding sometimes feels a bit forced, as if the discomfort was added in to amp up the “reality” of the situation.

Grade: B

Margot at the Wedding is currently available.