Marriage Story Review

Marriage Story

Love and marriage is a wonderful thing when it’s at its best. But it requires a lot of effort and work to maintain a happy marriage. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out. But what happens when things go from good to bad to worse? That’s the quest Noah Baumbach tries to answer in his latest film, Marriage Story. Does Marriage Story give audiences a look at what people go through in a modern-day divorce?

In a way, yes. But this film looks at an extreme case where everything goes wrong in a divorce. Fortunately, we get to see both sides of the divorce through Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver’s powerful performances.

Marriage Story follows Charlie and Nicole through the ups and downs of their life after marriage.

Marriage Story - Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver

Marriage Story may not be a remake of Kramer vs. Kramer but its overall themes are still there. This is more of a modern take on the fallout of a messy divorce. This is the kind of film where everything that could go wrong in a divorce does go wrong in a divorce. It’s the kind of worst-case scenario for both sides.

Not to mention, it also shows you how difficult it is for everyone involved. Much like any relationship, there are no winners in this. But there is this inherent drive to win between both sides because the other side is being so difficult.

But this isn’t such a one-sided affair like Kramer vs. Kramer was. With Marriage Story, the film can balance both Charlie and Nicole as the hero and claim in this story. So in the process, you attach yourself to these characters then hate that you like them in the next.

The way that the film plays out, there isn’t much progression for Charlie and Nicole’s heel turns. In a way, the movie is broken up into segments of the divorce. These different segments show either Charlie or Nicole as the villain and there isn’t much transition either.

Marriage Story - Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson

Regardless, the movie gives each character sympathetic storylines. It gives you an understanding that even the most amicable of breakups isn’t as amicable as it may seem. There may be a lot of pent up rage between both parties.

But the film’s biggest message is something that most people know: A majority of lawyers are blood-sucking leeches. Unsurprisingly, it’s the lawyers that complicate things for both Charlie and Nicole. In a way, they’re the devilish side of your conscience that’s telling you to give in to your desires and to take what you believe is rightfully yours. In this case, it’s their kid.

No one wins in a custody battle. It’s tough on the kid and it’s tough on the parents. But the kid, in this case, is oblivious to what is going on. It’s a bit shocking to see a kid his age not knowing what’s going on.

Truth be told, the movie wouldn’t be as good as it is if it weren’t for Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Both actors put on an acting clinic through their performances. It’s a big emotional journey and everyone brings their A-game to the movie.

Overall, Marriage Story is a poignant and compassionate story about the hardships of divorce. Both Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver give powerful performances and also give the best performances of their careers. Maybe, just maybe, it’s good enough to bring that golden statue home come February.

Rating: 5/5 atoms

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