“Marriage Story” stars Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, and Merritt Wever. Released in theaters on November 6, 2019, followed by a Netflix release on December 6, 2019, the film is about a married couple who is going through a divorce.
The film is written and directed by Noah Baumbach, who also did other films like “Kicking and Screaming”, “The Squid and the Whale”, “Greenberg”, “While We’re Young”, and “The Meyerowitz Stories”. We’re already getting close to the nomination announcements for this year’s Golden Globes, so let’s not waste any more time and get to some of the other pieces of award-worthy goodness. Today, I will be shifting my focus on to Netflix once again to look at a film that deals with the process of getting a divorce. Oh yeah, we are definitely heading towards some deep stuff this weekend. I haven’t seen any trailers for this film, but I did hear some extremely good things about it since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival back in August. As of this writing, it has already appeared in the top ten lists from the American Film Institute, the National Board of Review, and Time magazine, so I have reason to believe that it must be a good movie despite its sour concept. But is it something that I would recommend to the Netflix subscribers? Yes, I would, because it’s that flipping good.
This is the type of film that highlights the emotions of a difficult situation, which is, of course, a divorce. It’s a story about a marriage crumbling apart because of the characters’ actions and how they’re attempting to work things out for the sake of their child. It’s mature, it’s frustrating, it’s thoughtful, it’s all of those things in a single package. From what I read about the film, Noah Baumbach had a real connection to the subject after his divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh and his parents’ divorce. Based on what I saw, I can fully understand why. It’s an uncomfortable subject to talk about, but it’s also important, and Baumbach knows it. His screenplay was one of the best parts of the film because of the subject’s complexity and the emotion behind it. It didn’t force its audience to pick a side. Instead, it allowed them to experience the frustration and the pain that these characters are going through. It wanted them to hope that they fix this problem soon before it’s too late. While there were one or two scenes that dragged a bit and some of the film’s comedic moments were a bit…odd, I thought Baumbach did a great job at balancing the comedy with the hard-hitting drama without going over-the-top with one or the other. Another thing that I loved was the performances, most notably from Johansson and Driver. These two were absolutely incredible together, especially Driver who, in my opinion, delivered his best performance of his promising career. They really act like an actual couple, whether they’re talking or arguing with one another, which to me, helped made the emotional depth feel well-earned. Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Alan Alda were also great in their roles as the couples’ lawyers. I also appreciated the film’s musical score, which was composed by none other than Randy Newman. Yes, the same Randy Newman who wrote and sang “You Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story”. It’s sweet, it’s subtle, and it’s quite deep.
Overall, “Marriage Story” successfully examines the struggling relationship with great detail and stunning emotion. Yes, it can be a bit frustrating to watch for those who don’t like the subject, but it can also be relatable because it shows that not every relationship is perfect, especially theirs. Aside from a couple of small issues, the film is an emotional roller coaster thanks to its incredible cast, Baumbach’s screenplay, and Randy Newman’s score. If you like some of Baumbach’s other works, you will definitely love this one.