Marriage Story is a 2019 American comedy-drama film written, directed and produced by Noah Baumbach. It stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, with Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Julie Hagerty, Merritt Wever, and Wallace Shawn in supporting roles. The film follows a married couple (Johansson and Driver) going through a coast-to-coast divorce. I thought it was great, though it should really be called Divorce Story.
The acting is fantastic and the overall plot is strong. This movie’s commitment to realism really sells it and the message I got from it was valuable. It’s not a feel good movie. It’s a movie that will bring emotions out of you, emotions you were never aware you had. It’s a movie about fatherhood and motherhood. It’s a movie about togetherness and separation.
This film is about a unique feeling, the feeling that depicts, the volatile state of mind when your are about to or you have already left something behind, that you care and still sometimes get the hang of that it could have worked in some other way!
Movies such as this only are made once or twice in a decade. I will give the director, writer, cast and crew full credit for creating something that has left such profound feeling of disparity, sorrow, grief and anger, yet, at the same time, you feel connected to all the characters. You would want to pick sides, but you won’t be able to. That’s the beauty of this movie. Unlike Kramer vs Kramer, where you clearly are rooting for Ted, or in A Separation, where you empathise with what Simin is going through, Marriage Story will leave you pondering about the reality of the separation. This movie covers a couple going through a divorce and pulls no punches about the hardship of all of it.
The core issue is that the breadwinner is Charlie and his wife Nicole wants to move from NY to LA to get a part in a show. Charlie elects to stay in NY and continue directing his successful broadway plays. Both parties here are selfish.
Nicole is willing to uproot her child and throw away her marriage because of a dream. Charlie is willing to let this happen and lose his son because of his dream. They are both selfish and equally responsible for their failed marriage. Nicole is not in love anymore, she is happy that she had to courage to leave Charlie and stand up for herself.
The couple split amicably with no lawyers but eventually, Nicole hires a high priced lawyer and takes it to court. By the end Charlie is destitute, losing his company, and losing his son. In the end, Nicole allows him to have his son over for an extra night and he thanks her sincerely. Charlie thanks her for allowing him to see his son- this is supposed to be sweet but to me it is horrifying.
Nicole took all of Charlie’s money, his business, his dreams, and his son and then throws him scraps and we are suppose to think she is a good person? I refuse to think this. She is a bitter person that put her son and husband through hell for petty revenge.
I guess this is where the film lost me and gained me. I despise Nicole by the end despite the attempts of the movie but I respect its commitment to realism.
A beautiful film, and magnificent job by Noah Baumbach (the director).