Review: Marriage Story (2019)

Director/Screenwriter: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Scarlett johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, and sexual references
Release Dates: 11/6/19 (Limited Theatrical); 12/6/19 (Disc/Streaming–Netflix)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

I consider myself fortunate that I have never been through or been witness to the sad, unfortunate events that transpire in Marriage Story. Writer/director Noah Baumbach has used his own divorce as inspiration for the movie that is replete with authenticity — or so it seems, to someone like myself who is (luckily) unfamiliar with such a situation. What is perhaps most fascinating is seeing, throughout the course of 2+ hours, how the characters’ marriage falls apart. But what is simultaneously fascinating (and heartbreaking) is witnessing the ever-present love they have for each other and for their young son, who is understandably conflicted with his parents’ separation. Baumbauch smartly doesn’t force the viewer to side with one parent over the other; rather, he causes viewers (like myself) to feel empathy for both.

As the titular couple, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver have never been better and more devastatingly real. Johansson is subtler than Driver, with the exception of one impressively shot monologue wherein she explains everything to her attorney (played by a devilishly awesome Laura Dern). Driver, on the other hand, makes us feel everything that his character is feeling, and is my top pick for Best Actor at next year’s Oscars (note: he didn’t win, but should have). Merritt Wever is also hilariously great in a small, scene-stealing role.


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