Margot (Nicole Kidman) is a successful but self-absorbed writer; it is suggested that she has borderline personality disorder. She brings her 11-year-old son Claude (Zane Pais) to spend a weekend visiting her free-spirited sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) on the eve of Pauline's wedding to Malcolm (Jack Black) at their home on Long Island. Margot disapproves of Pauline's choice of fiancé: Malcolm is an unsuccessful musician whom Margot considers "completely unattractive". While in town, Margot will also be interviewed in a local bookstore by Dick Koosman (Ciarán Hinds), a successful author with whom she is collaborating on a screenplay. Dick's teenage daughter Maisy (Halley Feiffer) also visits the house.
Margot and Pauline have an uneasy relationship. Margot disapproves of Pauline's life-choices - besides marrying Malcolm, Pauline is pregnant, a fact that she has not shared with Malcolm or her pre-teen daughter Ingrid. Pauline, meanwhile, resents Margot for writing and publishing thinly-disguised stories about her life. She is also incensed when Margot shares secrets told to her in confidence - including her pregnancy. Rather that confront each other, however, Pauline and Margot take out their frustrations on Malcolm and Claude, respectively.
Tensions come to a head twice. Margot's interview goes disastrously wrong when Dick's questions become personal. While Pauline interrogates him about emails he received from one of her 20-year-old students, Malcolm admits he kissed Maisy. Returning to the house, Pauline finds Maisy inside. Though Pauline says nothing, it is obvious to Maisy that Pauline knows the truth. When Dick finds out what happened, he chases and beats Malcolm.
Margot and Pauline get into a heated argument, unleashing years of resentment. But following a climactic moment, Pauline and Ingrid leave with Margot and Claude, leaving Malcolm behind.
The next day, Pauline calls Malcolm, intent on breaking up with him. When he begs for forgiveness, however, she gives in and takes him back.
Margot decides to stay with her sister, and puts Claude on a bus to Vermont so he can live with his father. As the bus pulls away with Claude, Margot has a change of heart and chases after it. Taking a seat next to a surprised Claude, Margot catches her breath.Nicole Kidman as Margot
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Pauline
Jack Black as Malcolm
John Turturro as Jim
Ciarán Hinds as Dick Koosman
Halley Feiffer as Maisy Koosman
Seth Barrish as Toby
Michael Cullen as Mr. Volger
Enid Graham as Mrs. Volger
Zane Pais as Claude
Flora Cross as Ingrid
Margot at the Wedding was shot from April–June 2006 in various New York locations including Shelter Island, Hampton Bays, East Quogue, Long Island and City Island, Bronx.
The script's working title was Nicole at the Beach, but it was changed when Kidman signed on.
Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips acted as the film's music consultants, and the film "features the more obscure singer-songwriters that Baumbach is obsessed with...like [1970s] post-Dylan folkie Steve Forbert, British singer-songwriter and occasional Pink Floyd guest Lesley Duncan, Brooklyn-born singer songwriter Evie Sands (covered both Beck and Beth Orton) and New York Anti-folk artist Diane Cluck.""Northern Blue" by Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips
"Romeo's Tune" by Steve Forbert
"Go Tell Aunt Rhody" performed by Jack Black
"Genesis" by Jorma Kaukonen
"One Fine Summer Morning" performed by Evie Sands
"Goin' Down to Laurel" by Steve Forbert
"The Wagon" by Dinosaur Jr.
"Dear Mary" by Steve Miller Band
"See How We Are" performed by X
"Sunday Girl" performed by Zane Pais
"Everything Changes" by Lesley Duncan
"Union City Blue" by Blondie
"You and Me" by Alice Cooper
"Clair" by Gilbert O'Sullivan
"Easy to Be Around" by Diane Cluck
"Nothing Is Wrong" performed by The dB's
"That's All For Everyone" by Fleetwood Mac
"On and On" performed by Michael Medeiros
"Teen Angel" by Donovan
"Something on Your Mind" performed by Karen Dalton
Release and reception
The film premiered August 31, 2007 at the 34th Telluride Film Festival. It was also shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the Mill Valley Film Festival. The film opened in limited release in the United States on November 16, 2007. It opened in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2008 and at two cinemas in Melbourne, Australia on February 21, 2008.
The film grossed US$1,995,043 in the United States and Canada and made US$2,897,757 worldwide.
Critics gave the film mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 52% based on reviews from 153 critics. Metacritic gives the film an average score of 66 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.
A positive review in The Guardian in Britain compared the film to the director's previous film stating: "Margot at the Wedding, (is) an intelligent, subtle new movie by American writer-director Noah Baumbach, who made a considerable impression three years ago with The Squid and the Whale, his first film to reach this country. The Squid was a witty, affecting and painfully truthful account of two teenagers reacting to the separation of their parents, both writers living in New York, the father a pompous novelist whose once considerable career is in freefall, the mother a writer whose reputation is rapidly rising. Margot at the Wedding, less sharply focused than its predecessor, explores similar territory in an equally allusive and indirect way."
Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader named it the sixth best film of the year in a tie of a dozen mainstream releases. Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer named it the 7th best film of 2007, Scott Foundas of LA Weekly named it the 8th best film of 2007, and Kyle Smith of the New York Post named it the 9th best film of 2007.