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Starring: Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, André Benjamin, Alessandro Nivola, Jodie Turner-Smith, Don Cheadle, Lars Eidinger
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix comedy horror written and directed by Noah Baumbach. White Noise (2022) dramatizes a contemporary American family, which includes Jack Gladney (Adam Driver), a professor, alongside his wife, Babette (Greta Gerwig), and their children, as they attempt 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.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Out of some persistent sense of large-scale ruin, we keep inventing hope.' - Jack (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Murray: Don’t think of a car crash in a movie as a violent act. No, these collisions are part of a long tradition of American optimism. A reaffirmation of traditional values and beliefs. A celebration.
Murray: You might say, “But what about all that blood and glass? The screeching rubber, the crushed bodies, the severed limbs? What kind of optimism is this?” Look past the violence, I say. There is a wonderful brimming spirit of innocence and fun.
Jack: They’ve grown comfortable with their money. They genuinly believe that they’re entitled to it. They glow a little.
Babette: I have trouble imagining death at that income level.
Jack: Maybe there’s no death as we know it, just documents changing hands.
Steffie: How do astronauts float?
Denise: They’re lighter than air.
Heinrich: There is no air. They can’t be lighter than something that isn’t there.
'When people are helpless and scared, they're drawn to magical figures. Mythic figures. Epic men who intimidate and darkly loom.' - Jack (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Steffie: I thought Corolla was a car.
Heinrich: Everything’s a car.
Babette: I want whatever’s best for you.
Jack: What’s best for me is to please you.
Babette: But you please me by letting me please you.
Jack: Is it wrong for the man to be considerate to his partner?
Babette: I’m your partner when we’re playing tennis, which we ought to start doing again, by the way. Otherwise, I’m your wife.
Babette: We’re not lobbies or elevators. “I wanted him inside me.” As if he could crawl completely in, sign the register, sleep, eat, and so forth. I don’t care what these people do as long as they don’t enter or get entered.
Babette: Life is good, Jack.
Jack: What brings this on?
Babette: I just feel it has to be said.
'All plots move deathward. This is the nature of plots.' - Jack (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Babette: I want to die first.
Jack: You sound almost eager.
Babette: Life would feel unbearably sad and lonely without you. Especially if the children were grown up and living elsewhere. Right now we’re safe. As long as the children are here. They need us.
Jack: Your death would leave an abyss in my life. I’d be left talking to chairs and pillows.
Babette: Your death would be more than an abyss.
Jack: What’s more than an abyss?
Babette: A yawning gulf.
Babette: Your death would definitely leave a bigger hole in my life than mine would leave in yours.
Jack: You’ll be fine. You’ll travel, and live a new and exciting life. I’ll just sit in that chair in the suit that I wore to your funeral forever.
Babette: You’re wrong. And you don’t really want to die first.
Babette: You don’t want to be alone, but you don’t want to die more than you don’t want to be alone.
Jack: I hope we both live forever. Doddering, toothless, liver-spotted, hallucinating.
'Family is the cradle of the world's misinformation.' - Murray (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Jack: We edge nearer to death every time we plot. It’s like a contract all must sign. The plotters, as well as the targets of the plot.
Jack: It’s a great source of embarrassment for me that I don’t speak German. Maybe it explains the dark glasses, but best not to analyze it.
Murray: Nobody in any university in this country can so much as utter a word about Hitler without a nod in J.A.K’s direction, literally or metaphorically.
Babette: He’s Jack in real life.
Murray: Hitler is now Gladney’s Hitler. I marvel at what you’ve done with the man. I want to do the same with Elvis.
Murray: Who are all these children? Yours?
Babette: Well, there’s Denise, of course. We need more Glass Plus.
Jack: That’s Heinrich, and Steffie. Mine from wives one and three. And there’s Denise, Babette’s from husband two. Wilder is ours. We’re each other’s fourth.
Murray: Family is the cradle of the world’s misinformation.
Jack: There must be something in family life that generates factual error.
Murray: That’s because facts threaten our happiness and security.
Babette: It’s the over-closeness, the noise, and the heat of being.
'Maybe when we die, the first thing we'll say is, “I know this feeling. I was here before.”' - Murray (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Murray: Your wife’s hair is a living wonder.
Jack: Yes, it is.
Murray: She has important hair.
Jack: I think I know what you mean.
Babette: [to Denise] Either I chew gum with sugar and artificial coloring, or I chew sugarless gum that’s harmful to rats. It’s up to you.
Steffie: Don’t chew at all. You ever think of that?
Babette: Either I chew gum, or I smoke.
Denise: Why not do both? That’s what you want, isn’t it? We all get to do what we want, don’t we?
Steffie: Unless we’re not allowed to because of our age and height.
Jack: What does Denise, through Steffie, say that I’m taking?
Babette: I wanted to ask you before I asked her. We always tell each other everything.
'We're all aware there's no escape from death. And how do we deal with this crushing knowledge? We repress. We disguise.' - Murray (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Babette: My life is either, or. Either I chew regular gum, or I chew sugarless gum. Either I chew gum, or I smoke. Either I smoke, or I gain weight. Either I gain weight, or I run up the stadium steps.
Jack: Sounds like a boring life.
Babette: I hope it lasts forever.
Heinrich: Whatever relaxes you is dangerous.
Jack: We have to allow each other to have our secrets, don’t you think?
Alfonse: It’s natural. It’s normal that decent, well-meaning people would find themselves intrigued by catastrophe when they see it on television.
Lasher: We’re suffering from brain fade.
Alfonse: We need an occasional catastrophe to break up the incessant bombardment of information.
Murray: Jack, I need your help establishing an Elvis Presley power base in the department.
'There are two kinds of people in the world, killers and diers. Most of us are diers.' - Murray (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Murray: To Cotsakis, Elvis is just Elvis. But for me, Elvis is my Hitler.
Murray: These are the things we don’t teach. Bowls with no seats. Pi**ing in sinks. The culture of public toilets. I’ve pi**ed in sinks all through the American West.
Lasher: I’ve slipped across the border to pi** in sinks in Manitoba and Alberta.
Jack: Let me whisper the terrible word from the Old English, from the Old German, from the Old Norse. Death. Death. These crowds were assembled in the name of death. They were there to attend tributes to the dead. But not the already dead. The future dead. The living dead amongst us.
'Everything is fine, and will continue to be fine, as long as the supermarket doesn't slip.' - Murray (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Jack: Crowds came to form a shield against their own dying. To become a crowd is to keep out death. To break off from the crowd is to risk death as an individual, to face dying alone! Crowds came for this reason above all others. They were there to be a crowd.
Jack: May the days be aimless. Let the seasons drift. Do not advance the action according to a plan.
'Maybe once we stop denying death, we can proceed calmly to die. We simply walk toward the sliding doors.' - Murray (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Heinrich: [referring to the toxic event] The radio calls it a feathery plume, but it’s not.
Steffie: That’s what Dad says.
Denise: What is it?
Heinrich: It’s like a shapeless, growing thing. A dark, black breathing thing of smoke.
Heinrich: We saw it in a movie in school on toxic waste.
Jack: What does it cause?
Denise: Those videotaped rats?
Heinrich: It wasn’t sure what it does to humans. Mainly it was rats growing urgent lumps.
Jack: But that’s what the movie said. What does the radio say?
Heinrich: Skin irritation and sweaty palms.
Steffie: Sweaty palms in rats?
'What if death is nothing but sound? You hear it forever. Sound, all around. Uniform. White.' - Jack, Murray (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Babette: They’re not calling it a feathery plume anymore.
Steffie: Well, what are they calling it?
Babette: A black billowing cloud.
Jack: That’s more accurate. Which means they’re coming to grips with the thing. It’s good.
Jack: Nothing is going to happen.
Babette: I know nothing’s going to happen, you know nothing’s going to happen, but at some level, we ought to think about it, just in case.
'The power of suggestion makes some people sick and other people well.' - Jack (White Noise) Click To Tweet
Jack: Society is set up, I mean sadly, in such a way that it’s the poor and uneducated who suffer the main impact of natural and man-made disasters.
Babette: It is sad.
Jack: Did you ever see a college professor rowing a boat down his own street in one of those TV floods?