A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.
There are movies that come around every so often that blow you away. Some do it with stunts and effects. Then are some that blow you away because of how breathtakingly in touch they are. This film is the latter. Marriage Story is a film that is all too real for many of us in today’s society. Whether you were a child during a divorce or a parent, this is the rawest and realistic depiction I’ve ever seen. From the way the story and characters are introduced in the beginning to the full blown emotional fights, this film can teach you what mistakes not to make or leave you sobbing in the corner. I believe this film solidifies Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as truly elite actors. Not only did both sides of the story resonate with me but I was left wondering who was to blame. You’ve seen divorce story lines before but not like this one. You’ve never seen one so tethered to reality, so evenly balanced. We’re used to getting one full side of the eroding marriage and the other person is instantly the bad guy. However, in this one, you can make an argument for both of you want. Seeing the pettiness with lawyers, a custody battle, and watching one parent become the less favorable one may make some take an introspective look at their own marriage for the better. Additionally, there are some great symbolic shots showing the nonverbal dichotomy within the family. Lastly, with its great storytelling, amazing cast, and phenomenal acting, it’s a film that you don’t want to miss. Get your tissues ready.
Plot & Pace
A play director and his actress wife start to resent each other after their once fairy tale like relationship begins to decay and as result one of them files for divorce. This creates a bigger rift between the two and causes a strain between the parents and their son. There are two sides to every story and both are explored. One puts work before everything, while the other never felt in control of any aspect of their family life. The story moves at a pretty steady pace, switching back and forth from one parent to the other but focusing the majority of the first half on one. The only unrelatable aspect of the movie is that the couple is rather wealthy during their divorce. So the way the go about things would financially cripple the average person. However, one has a little more than the other so it balances out some. It has a very realistic ending and left me with a few questions. Do you ever stop loving someone you were married to for a substantial amount time? Where do you draw the line if you are going through a divorce, because you married them for a reason? And finally, is marriage worth it?
Characters & Chemistry
Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) explode with fire and passion on screen. Some scenes are so intense that I had childhood flashbacks of my parents. There’s one scene in particular that screamed, Oscar worthy. They really felt like a genuine married couple. All the subtle things like knowing what the other would want to eat, really brought it together. Laura Dern and and Ray Liotta brought some levity to the story. Especially the way they could snap in and out of lawyer mode like hitting pause in a game of Mortal Kombat. Alan Alda brought honesty and clarity to his role. Azhy Robertson as Henry was so conflicted and really personified what kids go through in these situations.
Marriage Story enjoyed a limited theatrical release but will be available on Netflix on December 6th. Enjoy the movie!
Director: Noah Baumbach
Runtime: 2h 16m
Rating: 4 of 5
Observing the human race since 1988.