When I first saw the trailer for Marriage Story last year I knew it was going to be a good film. My gut feeling was confirmed when it started garnering Oscar buzz and favorable reviews last December for its riveting storytelling and its powerful performances by its lead actors, Adam Driver, and Scarlett Johansson. I finally watched it yesterday and I have to say, it was pretty spectacular.
Marriage Story is everything you’d expect it to be; a depressing film about a couple who are dealing with the hardships of divorce, but what I found the most surprising about this movie was its strong attention to detail and sense of humor.
Every scene is permeated with a feeling of hilarious realism as the whirlwind of having a divorce slowly breaks down these characters, Nicole (Johansson) and Charlie (Driver) until they’re red in the face and screaming at one another in a thin-walled apartment complex.
The music, when it is heard, fills each scene with a sense of effervescent solemnity that gives the movie a distinct feel. The writing by Noah Baumbach is top-notch brilliant, digging deep into the meat of these characters without ever feeling exposition-heavy or like you’re obtaining small details that you don’t need.
And Adam and Scarlett are a match made in heaven. No, I never thought Black Widow and Kylo Ren himself could come together to be a believable married couple who have to split up with one another but yes, they did, and it was great casting.
I find my feelings toward Nicole Barber in the story mixed. On one hand, I want to cheer for her and say, “You go girl!” time and time again but Baumbach does a great job in portraying the sexism in which we view women when they act mean toward someone.
Nicole takes the initiative to divorce Charlie (after he cheated on her, mind you, with a mutual worker of theirs) and basically upend his life and career in theater, seeking out a harsh lawyer (played by Laura Dern in what I feel is her best role that I’ve seen) to take him down a size.
Like I said before, I liked that she didn’t step down against Charlie’s (Adam Driver) arrogance and selfishness and constantly reminded him that he was in the wrong but I couldn’t help feeling bad for Charlie. She just felt so…so…infuriatingly unreasonable at times.
Meanwhile, Baumbach writes Charlie up almost as if he’s the victim in the story even though he’s the one who caused this mess in the first place! He’s depicted as the doting father who loves his son and will do whatever it takes to be with him. He is thrown into the divorce with no idea that it’s coming which sends him down a downward spiral into despair. Slowly, the divorce eats away at him until he eventually can’t help cracking which leads to the scene that undoubtedly garnered Driver and Johansson their Oscar nominations.
While Charlie’s cheating on Nicole was seriously messed up I can’t help thinking about the fact that Nicole tells a story early in the movie about meeting Charlie while being engaged to a man named Ben! (Yeah, she broke some other dude’s heart too.) Apparently, Ben made her feel “dead” inside and Charlie didn’t. Fast forward and she and Charlie getting an ugly divorce. It makes you wonder if maybe it’s her that’s the problem all along, or at least that’s what Charlie points out during a heated argument.
Ugh, I’m rambling. As you can see, I really liked this movie. It’s undoubtedly one of the best movies of 2019 and totally deserved every Oscar nomination and win it got. If you haven’t seen it yet, please give it a look. It’ll be worth your while.
I’m giving this movie 100 out 100 and 5 out 5 stars. It’s perfect, what can I tell you.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.