Marriage Story (2019)

marriage story poster 2019 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great acting and good cast, nice locations and shooting style

Events of the story are uncomfortable to watch

Movie Info

Movie Name: Marriage Story

Studio:  Heyday Films

Genre(s): Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s): August 29, 2019 (Venice Film Festival)/November 6, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

marriage story laura dern attorney

Things are going to get difficult…

Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) and his wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) have decided to separate. When Nicole hires a big time lawyer in Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern), Charlie finds himself in a fight for his son Henry (Azhy Robertson). As the legal battle escalates, the claws come out and Charlie and Nicole pit themselves against each other in what could be a winner take all fight.

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story is a comedy-drama. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and received a limited United States release before being released on Netflix on December 6, 2019. The film received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Dern) with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Driver), Best Actress (Johansson), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Original Score.  The Criterion Collection released a version of the movie (Criterion #1038).

marriage story julie hagerty merritt wever scarlett johansson

I’d watch a whole show about the adventures of Nicole’s family

I was excited about Marriage Story, but the excitement soon turned to dread. Not because Marriage Story was bad, but because it was painful. It is the type of movie you can watch, see the pitfalls, and can’t do anything as the characters head for them.

The film starts smartly by showing that both parents are good in their own way, but this is quickly dashed because sharing is revealed to be a problem between the two. They want their lives as they want their lives and compromise (on both sides) doesn’t seem to be possible. As with something like the other famous divorce film Kramer vs. Kramer, you can see where each parent is making a mistake that the other can latch onto…and it hurts to see someone like Driver who cares for his kid losing his kid as the story progresses.

marriage story adam driver knife trick

Marriage is hard…

The movie interestingly takes Driver’s flawed character and makes him the more sympathetic of the two. It comes close to vilifying Johansson’s character (or at least her willingness to follow her attorney), but she too has moments of sympathy. It is the attorneys played by Dern (who eats up every scene), the laid-back Alan Alda, and the cutthroat Ray Liotta who turn the movie into a tragedy. I also really like Airplane!’s Julie Hagerty and Nurse Jackie’s mushmouth Merritt Wever as Nicole’s family who who really like Driver…I could watch a whole series about those two. The social worker played by Martha Kelly also is a fun trip.

marriage story ending adam driver scarlett johansson

One goal?

The movie does a great job establishing the characters worlds in both New York and Los Angeles. They have pros and cons (so much space in Los Angeles as stated by everyone). It is a strange movie about how appearances can affect a life. Charlie has to give his home the appearance of being lived in…it is a façade however and appearances can be deceiving.

Marriage Story actually has a lot of laughs while being extremely sad at the same time. The movie builds around the idea of lack of communication, but even if there had been communication, it probably wouldn’t have worked out in the long run. Marriage is a team effort and both sides contribute…breaking up that team has consequences and someone always ends up paying a price.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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