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At once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic, 'White Noise' dramatizes a contemporary American family's attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world. Pictured (L-R): Greta Gerwig (Babette), May Nivola (Steffie), Adam Driver (Jack), Samuel Nivola (Heinrich) and Raffey Cassidy (Denise).

Filmmaker Noah Baumbach has always had a knack for showcasing the emotional authenticity of the human condition in his darkly funny and intellectual works. Whether it’s a family confronting a divorce in 2005’s The Squid and the Whale and 2019’s Marriage Story or the thrills and humiliations of our 20s and 30s in 2012’s Frances Ha and 2015’s Mistress America, each film centers on characters experiencing and navigating significant change. And Baumbach’s latest, Netflix’s White Noise, while larger in scope, shakes the same dramatic ground. 

Adapted from Don DeLillo’s 1985 apocalyptic tragedy and satire, White Noise says much about our current world. It tackles misinformation, reflects on family life and parodies academia, and wraps it up in a wild, on-your-toes disaster movie plot. Though things go *boom* and an airborne toxic event takes place (costing the film about $80-100 million to make), the film never allows those more blockbuster elements to cloud over the human aspects. 

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Pictured (L-R): Sam Nivola as Heinrich, Adam Driver as Jack, May Nivola as Steffie, Greta Gerwig as Babette, Dean Moore/Henry Moore as Wilder and Raffey Cassidy as Denise in 'White Noise.' Cr. Wilson Webb/Netflix © 2022

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(Front L-R) Greta Gerwig as Babette, Dean Moore/Henry Moore as Wilder and Adam Driver as Jack (Back L-R) Raffey Cassidy as Denise, May Nivola as Steffie and Sam Nivola as Heinrich in White Noise.

PRESTON BARTA is a member of the Critics Choice Association and the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association. Read his work here, on FreshFiction.tv and RottenTomatoes.com. Follow him on Instagram at @bluraydad.

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