Title – Marriage Story (2019)
Director – Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale)
Cast – Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Merrit Weaver, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta
Plot – An intense examination of the the marriage breakdown between once in love couple Nicole (Johansson) and Charlie (Driver), as the two look to move their separate ways but remain friends in the process.
“Divorce lawyers see good people at their worst”
Review by Eddie on 13/12/2019
Born out of his own experience with divorce and relationship breakdown, famed indie director Noah Baumbach has crafted his most impressive and important film yet with the heartbreaking, yet equally hilarious Marriage Story, a modern day Kramer vs. Kramer that is likely to feature very strongly at the upcoming Oscars.
Just this week nominated for 6 Golden Globe Awards to lead the class of 2019, Story has been deservedly praised by many critic from around the globe and adored by audiences equally, as Baumbach shines an honest and insightful spotlight on the divorce process, that’s dialogue heavy approach is magnificently played out by his two lead performers Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.
There’s no lead up to the relationship failings of Driver’s successful yet self-centred theatre New York theatre director Charlie or Johansson’s strong-minded mother and actress Nicole, as Baumbach places us headfirst into the tail end of their marriage, as the one-time deeply in love couple find themselves torn between two cities and an increasingly ramped up campaign from both of them concerning custody of their young child Henry.
It’s a wise move by Baumbach, as we learn everything we need to know about these two flawed but likeable people throughout the film and its incredible how Baumbach refuses to take sides with his characters, with Story one of those rare films that refuses to take sides on who is right and who is wrong, with that decision likely to differ wildly from viewer to viewer.
Throughout this process both Driver and Johansson are at the top of their games, with Driver in particular quietly devastating and powerful as the struggling Charlie.
After what feels like year’s of working with the best of the best in Hollywood and noteworthy lead and supporting turns, Story is Driver’s crowning achievement so far in a career that is shaping up to be one of the very best of the modern era.
His work here is up there with the very best performances of the year, there are moments where Charlie will make you laugh (a scene at Ray Liotta’s lawyers office or an extended scene with a court room appointed observer are particular highlights) and be emotionally destroyed (the much talked about shouting match with Nicole and Charlie in an apartment complex or a simple letter reading prime examples) and it’s all thanks to Driver’s perfectly played out portrayal of Baumbach’s emotionally charged script.
With these two awards calibre performances at its forefront throughout, Story’s well-filmed, scored (one of Randy Newman’s best scores in year’s) and put together character piece is a joy to behold and further proof that Netflix is well and truly on track to finally be the movie producing company it wants to be.
Final Say –
Hilarious, heart-breaking and heart-felt, Marriage Story is one of the finest film’s yet made about divorce and relationship breakdowns, masterfully brought to life by Baumbach and his lead performers.
4 ½ magic tricks out of 5