"Marriage Story" Movie Review

Updated on December 13, 2019
Marriage Story
Marriage Story | Source

It would be easily forgivable should you need a reminder that Scarlett Johansson is among the more talented actors working today. She has, after all, spent most of the past decade donning a catsuit and kicking ass as Black Widow in the Marvel Universe. Fun times, to be sure, but not exactly the stuff of acting legend. Before all of that began with 2010’s Iron Man 2, however, she gifted us with head-turning performances in the likes of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Match Point, and Lost in Translation, scoring a trio of Golden Globe nods and a BAFTA win along the way.

If 2019 is the year of anyone in Hollywood, it may just be Johannson. Hot on the heels of her memorable turn in Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit (not to mention her appearance in two of the top four grossing films of the year—Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel), she knocks it out of the park in writer-director Noah Baumbach’s phenomenal (and phenomenally heartbreaking) Marriage Story.

Johansson is Nicole, a New York stage actress with Hollywood dreams who is married to Charlie (Adam Driver), a director who runs the theater company of which she is the star. We know right up front that their marriage, which produced eight-year-old Henry (Azhy Robertson), is in its last throes—the film begins with the “what I like about my spouse” missives each no doubt begrudgingly wrote as an assignment for their couples counselor. From there, we watch as, over the course of two hours, Nicole and Charlie go from amicably separated to all-out-nasty to courtroom adversaries in a deeply moving and often excruciating study of love, loss, and family.

Baumbach, who based the film partly on his own early 2010’s divorce from actor Jennifer Jason Leigh, plays Marriage Story as a modern-day Kramer vs Kramer, examining the union’s demise from every angle. There are tears, laughter, screams, and hugs as small moments (Charlie has his costume designer make a snazzy Frankenstein costume for Henry for Halloween, but Nicole sweeps the rug out from under him) and large (Charlie and Nicole spew unadulterated vitriol in the inevitable knock-down-drag-out) unfold before us in a smart and ultimately beautiful fashion.

Along with the stellar work by Johannson and Driver (both of whom have since scored Globe nods for their work here), the supporting cast also excels, particularly Laura Dern (also nominated) as Nicole’s feisty Hollywood lawyer and Alan Alda as Charlie’s. Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, and Merritt Wever round out the ranks, each bringing spectacular nuance and depth to what could have simply been throw-away roles.

Honest, real, and expertly constructed, Marriage Story is the best offering yet from Baumbach, who has proved his mettle repeatedly in gems like Frances Ha and The Squid and the Whale. Here, his use of long, single-take shots and the film’s pseudo-improv feel (though the actors reportedly stuck very close to the script) make the film seem at times like a documentary, which, in turn, helps the entire experience hit home even more.

It’s a tough watch, to be sure, and may well require a Kleenex box (or three), but Marriage Story is easily one of the year’s standouts—a raw and powerful look at two people who come to understand the (sometimes) destructive power of lost love.

Rating

4.5/5 stars

'Marriage Story' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)