Marriage Story (2019)
Directed By: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, and Laura Dern
Hello! This is going to be my first of hopefully many film reviews for the AffNo, and there is no better film to start with then my personal favorite movie, Marriage Story, a Netflix Original movie. The film follows the story of Charlie (Adam Driver), a struggling director in the Big Apple, and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), an actress making her comeback in movies and TV, going through what nearly 50% of all married couples go through: divorce.
Marriage Story makes you understand what a divorce does to a pair of people, the relationship evolves it changes, even though you don’t love each other romantically, it is obvious by the end there is a shared love and respect for eachother. The evolution of the relationship can be brought down to three scenes perspectively; one, the beginning scene which starts in marriage counseling with the two reading what they love about each other over a montage of their loving relationship. However this joy is quickly cut off by Nicole (Johansson) refusing to read her letter: the scene goes from a joyful colorful super cut of all the couples greatest hits to a bland gray office with a teary eyed couple sitting at a great distance from each other. This sets the tone for the movie: it’s not a romance with a happy ending-- it’s almost the anti-romance romantic movie. On to the second scene, this scene makes the movie and Adam Driver delivers a brilliant beautifully acted monologue. I call this scene “the dispute”: they begin by fighting about how they’re like each others parents (Driver’s character has a complicated relationship with his parents). This is the turning point for the couple. Think “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” They exchange nasty insults up until the end when Charlie (Driver) falls to his knees crying into Nicole. Here we get to see that regardless of romantic status as co-parents they are always going to depend on each other which the movie brings around perfectly in this third scene. We are now at the end of the movie: Charlie has gone trick or treating with Nicole, her family, their son, and Nicole’s new boyfriend. Nicole sees that Charlie is a broken man now and it’s almost as if all he has left is his son. Even though it’s her night with their son, Henry, she tells Charlie to take him for the remainder of Halloween which Charlie greatly appreciates. However this isn’t what’s special about this scene. What’s special is that as Charlie is walking away, Nicole immediately notices his shoes are untied and she rushies over to tie them for him. It’s a small gesture but shows that the two now rely on each other to help each other when they can’t help themselves. They’re not married but the love and respect is still there. It shows divorce in a new light in film: it shows that divorce is terrible but in the end the relationship evolves into something new and you and your partner will always be a part of each other’s life. That folks, is why Marriage Story is my movie of 2019.
Beautiful directing, writing, and acting really drive this movie home and Driver deserves an award for the performance he gave. That’s still not what makes this movie special, what makes it special is that it’s a new concept almost a new genre, the anti-romance movie a movie about breakups that doesn’t end in the couple kissing and making up, but their relationship growing and evolving. This movie is the first of it’s kind and I hope to see more films like this.
4.5/5 Engagement Rings