Review: Marriage Story

Let's do this as friendly as possible.

Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) live in New York with their 8 year old son, Henry. (Ahzy Robertson) He's a theater director, she's an actress, but she longs to go back to LA. When a pilot opportunity comes her way, she decides to start doing what she wants and serves Charlie divorce papers. Now they must try to end their marriage as easily as possible for the sake of their son, but that's next to impossible.

Watching this movie came at an interesting time for me personally. Due to a house fire my family and I have been displaced from our home for a few months (we got lucky and didn't lose everything) but we occasionally joke that we feel like divorcees sharing custody because our temporary living situation is a bit strange. Now I'm sitting here alone, watching this couple go through something so difficult and the final scene wrecked me.

The film tries to keep it very fair and doesn't overtly ask us to pick sides. I feel the script does lean more towards Nicole, but Adam Driver's performance really draws you to him. Both characters have flaws, both have fair points and even though we meet them at their most defeated, you can't help but wish they'd somehow work it out. But they don't. That's not a spoiler, this is a movie about divorce and sometimes no matter how much you want love to prevail, it just doesn't.

Adam Driver is absolutely outstanding in this. It's easily his best performance and that's saying something when he's been so consistently good in everything. Laura Dern also has a wonderful turn as Nora, Nicole's lawyer. It reminded me of a friendlier Renata from Big Little Lies but that just made me love it more. I think this film could've easily made the lawyers exceedingly awful but even though they don't pull any punches, they don't feel like caricatures. Scarlett Johansson also gives a great performance but she's overshadowed by others at times. I freely admit I went into this film assuming I'd have some bias against Nicole because of well,....all the dumb shit Johansson has said lately, but she's just good and I never once disliked Nicole. I understood all of her concerns.

Now this is the part where I lose all my blogger and #FilmTwitter cred by admitting I don't actually love Noah Baumbach's work. Aside from The Squid and The Whale and to a lesser extent, Frances Ha, I've been "meh" on everything, but this is by far his best film. I love the care that he gave this story. I love how he started and finished it. It could've used a bit more editing in the middle as parts felt repetitive but it's such a wonderful story and came together so well. 


Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I can't believe I have to know you forever." - Nicole (Scarlett Johansson)

15 comments:

  1. You're so right about how the movie leans towards Nicole. There's that shocking revelation that definitely doesn't help your opinion of Charlie, but his actions after that do really draw you to him.
    I'm so, so sorry to hear about your house! I can't even imagine how difficult that must be to deal with. Hope you're all doing okay.

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    1. I'm really surprised to hear people think this movie leans towards Charlie, the text is pretty explicate, but Driver is so good he does make you feel for him and he does grow as a character.

      Thank you! We're doing okay and hopefully it will all be over soon.

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  2. this is the only noah baumbach movie i've ever liked, so you're fine

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  3. I do want to see this as I do have it my laptop and in my mom just got a new iPad as I might see this legally on Netflix. I know I'm going to get wrecked so I'll watch it alone. Plus, I don't give a shit about what Scarlett says. It's her opinion about what she says. People are just upset that she's not part of the PC culture. As far as I'm concerned, the PC culture is the 21st equivalent to Fascism.

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    1. That is also why I watched it alone lol

      I don't think there's anything wrong with being PC. Too many people get away with behaving like assholes and they deserve to get called out on it, IMO. Scarlett's an actress I always enjoyed but she's been very problematic lately. Clearly no one in Hollywood cares because she's getting nominations.

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  4. I guess I'm tipping my hand on my review but the movie is so freaking good. I've seen it twice now and found myself glued to every word.

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  5. Great review! I too was afraid I would hate Nicole because of Johansson but I didn’t. And that argument scene wrecked me.

    I haven’t seen all of Baumbach’s work but I loved what I’ve seen. Everything but Frances Ha. I was not a fan of that one.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one that had all this bias going in. lol

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  6. I hope you and your family are okay, and you can be together again soon! I'm happy this film worked better for you, especially with Adam's performance. It didn't quite clicked with me or leave me emotionally scarred as a lot of people hyped up. But it has a good cast and script.

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    1. Thank you, Katy. I hope so too. I'm ready to be home. I'm especially happy about Adam too. He deserves that Oscar.

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  7. I wonder how I'd feel if the awful one wasn't cast but that way it was really easy to root for Charlie :)

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