Reel Reviews: Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach’s emotion-filled drama is all about divorcing the status quo

Scarlett+Johansson+and+Adam+Driver+in+%22Marriage+Story.%22+Photo+courtesy+of+Netflix.

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in “Marriage Story.” Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Beautiful, devastating and emotional. “Marriage Story” is one of the best movies of the year.

Released to the popular streaming service Netflix on Dec. 6, 2019, the drama has garnered critical acclaim and a list of accolades, including six Oscar nominations. Produced, written and directed by American filmmaker Noah Baumbach, this marks as his second successful collaboration with the well-known streaming service.

In October of 2017, Netflix released “The Meyerowitz Stories,” which was also written and directed by Baumbach. It stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman and received critical praise. The film showed a grounded story of familial issues, which is becoming one of Baumbach’s trademarks.

Similar to Baumbach’s previous work, “Marriage Story” depicts a raw and true-to-life story of a family going through a divorce. They want the divorce to be simple and just between the two of them. When custodial issues and problems surrounding their living situation arises, they begin to involve lawyers, and it gets dirty real quick. This includes both sides using personal and damaging information about each other to sabotage one another in court.

The film subverts your expectations from the start and lets you know that it will not be your average romantic movie. The irony of the title speaks for itself.

Baumbach’s brilliant writing and direction realistically depicts the hardships and tragedy that goes on in a broken marriage. The dialogue is in the forefront and proves to be compelling to the narrative. Allowing the script to play out with limited cuts gives the film a sense of authenticity that is not replicated anywhere else. At times, the movie feels like it’s a documentary crew following this family around, documenting their unfortunate downfall. It has no problem in portraying the dark side of a society that comes from a divorce and custody battle.

The cast does an incredible job, particularly Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Johansson and Driver are excellent in portraying the emotions intended from the script. Johansson delivers her lines with such a passion that would bring anyone to tears, and Driver takes you on a ride of emotions with his tragic performance. The dynamic between the two binds the story together, and it succeeds in relaying the overall feeling. They deliver some of the best acting performances of the year. Enhanced by an outstanding supporting cast including Ray Liotta, Laura Dern and Julie Hagerty, it’s no wonder the film has received Oscar buzz since the Venice Film Festival premiere in August 2019.

“Marriage Story” is the perfect anti-romance movie. It’s a different take on your typical love story. It should be watched by everyone as a beautiful piece of tragic cinema.