Family Squares is the kind of film which will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even call your family – including members who get on your last nerve.


Director(s) Stephanie Laing
Screenplay By Stephanie Laing, Brad Morris
Date Released 2/25/2022
Where To Watch Video On Demand
Genre(s) Comedy, Drama, LGBT, Family
Duration 1 Hour 30 minutes
Content Rating Rated R
Noted Cast
Mabel June Squibb
Diane Margo Martindale
Bobby Henry Winkler
Katie Casey Wilson
Dorsey Judy Greer
Chad Scott MacArthur
Robert Billy Magnussen
Bret Timothy Simons
Max Maclaren Laing
Kassidy Elsie Fisher
Judith Ann Dowd

Film Summary

With the matriarch’s passing, Mabel, her wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren mourn her in their own way. But, no sooner than they are crying, some wailing, they learn that she has filmed multiple videos that coerce everyone to reveal their secrets. Be it who isn’t really related to her, crimes against the family, and so much more. However, none of this is done out of spite or to make it harder for the family to come together. Mabel just hoped with getting all the secrets out of the way, maybe everyone would learn to love each other with intention.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (F*** is used throughout the movie, so many times), Miscellaneous (drinking and minor drug use [Vaping weed])

Collected Quote(s)

Life is full of secrets, but it’s better without any.
— Mabel

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Mabel

Tough, controlling, eccentric, yet the most loving member of the Worth family, Mabel’s death is a difficult loss for everyone in the family. However, losing her during the COVID-19 pandemic means no one can be by her side at the moment, which made things harder. But, at the very least, she made it to her 90s, found love again through Judith, and died peacefully.

Diane

Kassidy (Elsie Fisher), Robert (Billy Magnussen), Diane (Margo Martindale), Bret (Timothy Simons), Chad (Scott MacArthur), and Bobby (Henry Winkler) at the start of their Zoom meeting
From Top To Bottom: Kassidy (Elsie Fisher), Robert (Billy Magnussen), Diane (Margo Martindale), Bret (Timothy Simons), Chad (Scott MacArthur), and Bobby (Henry Winkler)

Diane, personality-wise, is undoubtedly Mabel’s daughter. A lot of her personality was passed down for better or worse, but despite how that has led to some clashes, Mabel and Diane always loved each other. In fact, Mabel admired how her daughter did so much for her family, including raising 5 kids.

Bobby

Bobby is Mabel’s son, Diane’s brother, who is probably the least loved member of the family since he is barely around. What also doesn’t help is that he tries to insert himself into the decision-making process more than most people think he has the right to during the days after Mabel passes.

Katie

Katie is Diane’s oldest daughter who tries to be like her mother and grandmother, but with her partner being an ill match, she isn’t able to flourish as Diane and Mabel did with their partners. Instead, she is often forced to put on a front since she has no desire to have her blood relations in her business more than what they could discover accidentally.

Dorsey

After a bad marriage and other issues, Dorsey got into an RV with her son Max and hit the road. This became just more fodder for Katie, who often has a back and forth with Dorsey due to their sibling rivalry.

Chad

A writer, who has made moderate success, Chad appears to be Diane’s oldest son, and because of that, Robert always wanted to hang around him, even when Chad would fight him due to annoyance.

Robert

With being the one who got the most attention growing up, Robert is a bit spoiled. But, perhaps his worst quality is that he is a notable hacker who often, especially when it comes to Chad, would hack into his tech to see how he is doing. Yet, because of Robert’s skills, that might be the main reason Chad’s book became a hit on Amazon.

Bret

Despite his age, Bret is still trying to find himself. Part of the reason he is all over the place might be due to the death of his wife, but it seems to be an entrepreneur, Bret has long gained the reputation of being a hot mess. Though what doesn’t help his reputation is borrowing money from everyone to help fund these different ideas.

Max

Max is Dorsey’s only child, who probably knew Mabel the least due to Dorsey, similar to Bobby, not coming home too often.

Kassidy

Aside from Katie, who took care of Mabel before she went into a nursing home, Kassidy was probably the person closest to Mabel. She leaned on her heavily after her mother passed, and despite her youth, she is very vocal in the family meetings about how to handle arrangements.

Judith

Judith (Ann Dowd) talking about her wife
Judith (Ann Dowd)

Judith and Mabel have been married and enjoying New York for the last few years. However, when she knew she was dying, Mabel distanced herself from Judith and went back home to rest in peace.

Review

Highlights

Every Character Is Given Their Chance To Get The Spotlight

Nearly everyone who is alive and part of this family gets developed to the point of remembering their name, their individual story, and the history behind their relationship to various family members. The only thing you may not learn is what certain people do or did for money. But, beyond that, you’ll never feel any character is expendable or wastes valuable time that another character is more deserving of.

Max (Maclaren Laing) reacting to something said
Max (Maclaren Laing)

To get into some specifics, Max, who is the least developed character of them all, doesn’t feel worthless since it is through him and Kassidy you see the next generation come to be. Also, Max’s distant, almost detached attitude is reminiscent of his grandpa and helps you understand how traits are passed down beyond physical looks.

Heck, even Mabel, who dies within the first ten to fifteen minutes, is a notable character who isn’t just used to be a catalyst for the movie’s events. She is given a personality and allowed her own voice to help viewers connect with her, rather than using her wife or family as a medium. Truly, each character is built out so that it is like experiencing a well-adapted novel.

The Relationships Between Family Members

While you have to appreciate how each individual is built up, how they are interconnected, beyond grief and blood, makes the film. If it isn’t everyone harping on Bret for him borrowing money, it’s the brothers picking on Dorsey or Katie, as you’d expect. There is Diane feeling guilty for not knowing Judith better, and Bobby’s guilt over not being there as he should have after his wife died decades ago.

As you can tell, death is a strong motivator of the family, for better or worse, and yet life goes on, and you can see through each member how they found a way to move on. Sometimes for the better, with coming out stronger on the other end or becoming a bit stagnant, maybe even enabled by the kind of love which coddles more than pushes.

Yet, seeing this family come together, despite the various issues they may have with each other, shows you why the idea of family has persevered for eons.

On The Fence

Wishing We Got To Understand Mabel and Judith’s Love Story Better

Yes, we’ve come to a point in human history where not everyone needs to have a coming out story, and sometimes love is love, no matter what combination of people are walking down the aisle willingly. But I must admit there was a need to wonder whether Mabel was simply closeted for most of her life, was with the grandfather simply because she wanted a family, or what?

Mabel (June Squibb) noting she is tired
Mabel (June Squibb)

That is the only thing that feels left unexplained here, yet considering how most of the family know who Judith is, but haven’t seemingly spent too much time with her, maybe it is only right she is a mystery to viewers too?

Overall

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Family Squares feels similar to The Farewell in terms of being a poignant depiction of the complicated individuals and relationships within a family. Now, unlike The Farewell, I wouldn’t call Family Squares a classic. However, the performances are good enough to get you invested, and the chemistry between characters will likely trigger you to think about calling members of your own family. Also, there are more than enough moments to make you cry, laugh, and not want to pause this and allow yourself to be distracted by other things you could be doing.

Movie Directory

An old school film reel drawn by artist Dean Nelson.

On The Radar


Ratings

  • Recommended: Some of the best-seen movies we have ever watched and mentioned to friends, family, and strangers as films that need to be seen.
  • Positive (Worth Seeing): Whether you’ll have to go to the movies, download, or stream, movies of this category are worth your time and money with few, if any, qualms from us.
  • Mixed (Divisive): Due to this movie having a few quirks, of which may work for some and for others be a problem, we believe your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your taste.
  • Negative (Acquired Taste): While one or two elements kept us going until the end, unfortunately, we’re of the opinion this film never reached the potential it was marketed to have.

Special Categories/ Tags

  • Indie: By our definition, independent films are films you have to seek to find due to limited availability or lack of a marketing push.
  • Film Festival: Featured in this tag are films and shorts which were discovered thanks to various film festivals, so some of the productions may not have wide availability but still may deserve to be on your watch.
  • Shorts: Be it ten or fifteen minutes, or a half-hour, these quick teases or films get right to the point, often show the potential of filmmakers and the actors who have joined them in their journey.
  • Ending Spoilers: Trying to remember how a film ended, or want a different take on the ending, then check out the "ending spoilers" category. 
Title Card - Family Squares (2022)
Family Squares (2022) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who like family dramedies, with the added twist of most characters not interacting in person, but rather through a ZOOM setup.
Highlights
The Relationships Between Family Members
Every Character Is Given Their Chance To Get The Spotlight
Disputable
Wishing We Got To Understand Mabel and Judith's Love Story Better
84


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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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