Seriously, this movie made me laugh so hard that I teared up and had trouble breathing. Even when I rewatch it, I still laugh. While the humor has a dark and rather cynical twist to it, the film still has respect for its characters as people. If I has to describe the message of the movie, I'd say "Life is tough and unfair, but it's not hopeless." This script won an Oscar, and deservedly so. The writing is quick, smart and not afraid to take chances.
The acting is across the board excellent. Alan Arkin earned his Oscar several times over playing the crass, but loving, grandfather of Olive. Abigail Breslin conveys a great sense of vulnerability as awkward Olive. Paul Dano does so much without any words. And Steve Carell, in a role that predates his status of big name recognition, steals the show as the preeminent Proust scholar in the nation, Frank.