Movies: Owen Kline

The Squid and the Whale

Frank, the 12-year-old in The Squid and the Whale, gets a double dose of bad luck. The breakup of his parents' marriage comes just as Frank has hit puberty—hit it like a crash-test dummy slamming into a granite wall. In no time he has become a heavy drinker and a chronic masturbator while somehow remaining a sweet, devoted kid. The great trick is in the "somehow." Somehow Owen Kline embodied that bundle of complexities, found the pathos and comedy in poor Frank's turmoil.

Breeding plays a part. Owen, 14, is the son of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. Serendipity helps...

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