The Family Fang | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 105 minutes · 2016

Comedy, Drama
Adapted from Kevin Wilson's best-selling novel, this serrated comedy of monstrous parents and damaged children unfolds in the esoteric field of performance art, portrayed here as a sort of cultural bullying. Fading movie actress Annie Fang (Nicole Kidman) and once-promising novelist Baxter Fang (Jason Bateman) are serendipitously reunited with their highly respected parents, Caleb and Camille (Christopher Walken, Maryann Plunkett), who once enlisted young Annie and Baxter—or A and B, as they were called—in their performance-art stunts. "Life and art, we make them interchangebable," the father boasts in a documentary interview, though what he's really done is taken his children's lives and turned them into his own artwork. Kidman has one of her best roles ever as the resentful daughter; her anger drives the narrative through a minefield of competing egos and into the heart of the parents' mysterious disappearance. Bateman directed; with Linda Emond and Harris Yulin.

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