Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage Story (2019) Cover

Get your Kleenex box for one of the best Netflix films you will see this year! In Marriage Story, you can expect a heartbreaking compelling story, one of the best performances of the year (if not the best), and a genius script that held my interest from beginning to end. We get to see the great Kylo Ren and selfless Black Widow go through an emotional gut-wrenching divorce that highlights the nasty process a divorce can be.

Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlet Johanson) have been married for years but Nicole has had enough of feeling as if she doesn’t have a voice in the relationship; it has always been what Charlie wants. While Charlie is ignorant of his selfishness (and defends the decisions he makes by believing they are in the family’s best interest), Nicole has had enough of it. Unbeknownst to her husband, she is ready to move from New York to Los Angeles with Henry (Azhy Robertson), the couple’s son, and pursue the dreams she never had the chance to pursue while with Charlie. What starts off as civil divorce negotiations turns into a terrible battlefield involving LA, New York, and a child.

Noah Baumbach’s screenplay is brilliant. The opening scene has both leads surprisingly explaining what they like about each other. It is rather long but it is lovely. As each character takes their turn professing the great qualities that the other has, we are treated with a well-edited montage so not only do we get to hear about why they think the other is so great, but we get to see why. There’s a massive amount of information we learn about both characters and I quickly developed a love for both of them. This is the single joyful sequence in the entire film as Marriage Story quickly shifts gears to the couple in a counseling office, merely reminiscing on what they used to love about the other. It’s stinging to see that these people who know each other so well and have such beautiful history are ending their relationship.

Adam Driver and Scarlet Johanson are delivering the best performances of their careers. For the most part, they are respectful to one another and attempt to treat each other civilly throughout the nasty legal process of the divorce. However, there is “that scene” that both actors get to “go off” in an emotionally stunning argument that is interestingly strengthened by the sheer fact that you feel like you actually know who these characters are and can understand where they are coming from. My vote for best actor of 2019 is 100% Adam Driver for this role that he plays as no other performance has been as compelling. I also hope Johanson receives a nomination for her role as well.

The supporting cast has many compelling and/or comedic parts; Laura Dern plays a ruthless lawyer who stirs drama. Martha Kelley plays a hilariously awkward parenter monitor. Merrit Weaver shines as Nicole’s sister who is oddly nervous and fails to serve Charlie the divorce papers. Julie Hagerty plays Nicole’s mom who still wants to continue talking to Charlie, thinking highly of him (interesting dynamic there). There’s lots of really great moments from all of these actresses that really make the film come to life.

This is not going to be a feel-good romance film and so prepare yourself if you choose to see this for a dose of heavy, yet effective, melancholy reality that some truly do endure.

Final Verdict:One of the best films of 2019; A dose of heavy, yet effective, melancholy reality that is all well-acted and directed/written beautifully by Noah Baumbach.