There has been lots of buzz for Marriage Story, the new film directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, which tells the story of a couple heading for divorce.
I had heard some great things about Marriage Story, but honestly it did not sound like something that I was going to be interested in. After opening in select theaters, Marriage Story would wind up streaming on Netflix so viewing it would be simple. Still, it was not something that I was anticipating.
Then I saw it.
Wow. What a brilliant movie.
Adam Driver plays a stage director named Charlie and Scarlett is his wife and actress Nicole. The film starts off in a beautiful way, but then it pulls the rug out from you. I won’t reveal how because it is a wonderful opening.
They have a son named Henry (Azhy Robertson). They work on their play in New York and then Nicole got a pilot in Los Angeles. This is what started the end of the marriage, though there were other factors in pay already.
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are utterly awesome in these roles. They bring such humor and pain to every minute and nothing is wasted. You can see from both points of view during the film with neither side being completely wrong, but not completely right either. I can not imagine that Driver or Johansson will not be nominated for Academy Awards for these roles. If they are ignored, that would be a terrible snub.
This is a wonderful character driven story that focuses on its great leads, but there are also some amazing supporting characters in the movie. Alan Alda and Laura Dern are potentially award deserving for their roles as divorce lawyers who are both straight forward but also two-faced. You can tell why lawyers get a bad reputation from some of the tactics that they take, and yet they are clearly real people who have feelings and are complex. We also have Ray Liotta, Shawn Wallace, and Julie Hagerty in supporting roles that are original and fun.
There are some scenes that simply dropped my jaw. There is one scene between Johansson and Driver where they are fighting that was utterly tense and distressing. This would be their Oscar submission, I think.
This movie is filled with pain, but also a joy of life that comes through clearly. Divorce is a difficult time and it leaves scars, but it is something that you can make it through. I was surprised how much I loved this movie. I did not expect to love it this much, but the two lead actors are so great, and the film is so well created that you cannot help but llove it.