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