Quick Take: Marriage Story
Arriving today on Netflix is the much anticipated semi-autobiographical film by Noah Baumbach called Marriage Story. The film has had Oscar buzz for months, for not only the film but the lead performances by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Contrary to what the title suggests, it doesn't follow the story of a marriage, so much as it follows the dissolution of one. By the time the film begins, the titular marriage of Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) is past saving and both wish to move forward with their lives.
What the film actually chronicles is their messy bi-coastal divorce and their fight for custody of their only child, Henry. Hoping for a quick resolution, Nicole hires a savvy divorce lawyer named Nora (Laura Dern,) and before Charlie knows it his life is a living hell spiraling out of control. Forced to lawyer up, Charlie soon learns you have to fight dirty to get what you want. The film certainly pulls no punches in portraying how ugly divorce can be from a legal standpoint alone.
As a child of divorce, this was not an easy film to watch! I found myself feeling surprisingly emotional at different points in the story as I witnessed their legal and emotional nightmare. But while I found it a hard watch, it was still extremely worthwhile and well-made. Though heartbreaking, the end gave the glimmer of hope and normalcy that life does go on. Adam Driver is always solid and was really great here, but I have to say how nice it was to see Scarlett Johansson in a role that really requires something of her. She hasn't displayed this much heart in sometime and it was really great to see.
Bottom line: Though heart wrenching to watch, Marriage Story still manages to be worthwhile and cathartic. It's one of the best movies of the year. RATING: 9/10