A couple begins divorce proceedings while
struggling to remain a family for their young son.
Marriage Story (2019)
Written and Directed by Noah Baumbach
Starring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty, Merritt Wever, Azhy Robertson
Oscar Wins - Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern)
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Adam Driver),
Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson), Best Original Screenplay,
Best Original Score (Randy Newman)
Marriage Story is a heartfelt, humanizing look at divorce that was inspired by writer/director Noah Baumbach's own divorce from actress Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2013. The parallels are so honest that the film is almost a biopic, and the flawless performances from Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson really help elevate the film to lofty heights. I didn't really know what to expect going into this one, but it's going to stay with me. It's arguably the most honest portrayal of a crumbling relationship that I've ever seen.
Driver and Johansson play Charlie and Nicole Barber, a theater couple from New York who are getting divorced. They both want what's best for their son Henry (Robertson), but they also both don't want to be seen as losing anything. They hire vicious lawyers and turn the initially amicable separation into a full-blown custody battle that turns them both into dirty fighters. You can't really choose a side because they're both good people with problems, just like all of us. You know this won't be a Hollywood ending where they get back together, because it's not that kind of movie. Noah Baumbach wanted to tell his story right, and he certainly did.
Marriage Story may just be the film to beat this awards season. Driver and Johansson are both phenomenal, and Laura Dern really stands out in a supporting role. The story is brutally honest and will surely hit home for anybody who's ever had to fight their former loved one in court. I imagine it's quite painful, especially if there are children involved. This film deserves praise for its depiction of a relationship falling apart due to numerous problems. I think some people can even learn from it.
Noah Baumbach is an indie god at this point with an array of stories about average folks in America. Marriage Story seems like the most personal one though. I’ve been a massive fan of his for years now and the anticipation of watching this on Netflix was extremely real. That anticipation was turned into expectations because I read and heard nothing but great things before watching it. My expectations were exceeded and I think it’s safe to say that Marriage Story is Baumbach’s most refined work.
Adam Driver plays Charlie, a play director who embodies New York City. Scar Jo plays Nicole, a talented actress who is married to Charlie. They have a son and life together in New York, but Nicole consistently gets opportunities to go work in Los Angeles. The couple must figure out how to handle their desires and futures together. It’s comparable to 1979’s Kramer vs Kramer, just with a major Baumbach touch.
I am going to call right now that Marriage Story gets a handful of nominations and a win for Adam Driver at the Oscars. He is fucking lights out in Marriage Story and I can’t believe how quickly he has risen in the film industry. Scar Jo will blow you away with the most impressive performance of her career. Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Alan Alda brought the pain in every scene that they take part in. It’s a flawless film that I will be talking about for the rest of my life, because Baumbach just gave us a classic.