A comprehensive ranking of Noah Baumbach movies, from Kicking and Screaming to White Noise
All of the movies written and directed by Noah Baumbach have a very personal touch to them as they all offer insight into the New Yorker way of living and simply being alive. I’m from Minnesota, and my experience with New York everyday life and culture comes from movies primarily. Nobody paints such a vivid and thoughtful world of life in that part of the country as well as Noah Baumbach.
That’s not to say that Baumbach can’t operate in other modes. He’s made movies set in Los Angeles, developed big budget science fiction pieces, and helped write a handful of the best auteur films the last few decades. He even has a writing co-writing credit in Barbie, a movie directed by his significant other Greta Gerwig.
And that duo has worked with each other many times, from the aforementioned Barbie to Frances Ha to Mistress America and others, their influence can be deeply felt as a pair of filmmakers who understand each other’s tendencies and sensibilities perfectly. They go hand-in-hand, and it’s been a constant stream of success for well over a decade.
Noah Baumbach isn’t without his flaws as a director. He’s whiffed on a few projects, and let a few of his bigger pieces slip through his fingers. They don’t always land in a completely new way – instead they often enhance one another and stay in conversation with what came before it. The best directors aren’t necessarily the ones who make a completely new film time and time again; sometimes they’re the ones that feel compelled to tweak what they did before, or uncover another layer of what they find constantly pressing and interesting.
Noah Baumbach is always directing and writing. There’s always something coming down the line from him, whether it be another directorial effort from himself, or from one of his frequent collaborators (alongside Gerwig, Noah Baumbach has many writing credits with Wes Anderson as well).
But for now, this is how I think I’d rank the Noah Baumbach movies, from Kicking and Screaming to White Noise:
12. Highball (2002)
11. Margot at the Wedding (2007)
10. Greenberg (2010)
9. While We’re Young (2014)
8. White Noise (2022)
Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel White Noise has often been considered unfilmable. The postmodern classic grows more and more timely by the year, which may be the exact reason why acclaimed auteur Noah Baumbach decided to try his own hand at it. The source material is rich – mostly commenting on consumerism and global warming amid a fractured landscape between the media and internal families. As you can imagine, some pretty weighty material that’s difficult to precisely package together in the span of two hours. White Noise review
7. Mr. Jealousy (1997)
6. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
5. Marriage Story (2019)
4. Mistress America (2015)
3. The Squid and the Whale (2005)
2. Kicking and Screaming (1995)
1. Frances Ha (2012)
More Director Rankings from Cinephile Corner
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- Noah Baumbach Movies Ranked from Worst to Best, Featuring White Noise