“Gripping throughout, and more powerfully moving with each passing frame, Marriage Story takes you emotionally to where few films have dared to venture this year…” – Kathy Kaiser, matineechat.com / AM590 THE FAN
MARRIAGE STORY – Rated R – 2 hrs. 16 mins. – A NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
Directed & Written by Noah Baumbach
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Merritt Wever, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, Alan Alda, and Azhy Robertson
Music by Randy Newman
Drawing from his own life experience with divorce, including the demise of his parent’s marriage, his own divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2010, plus the added bonus of gaining knowledge on the ill-fated marriages of many of his family and friends, Director/Writer Noah Baumbach has created a captivating, and authentically real film, facing head on the realities of life, love, heartbreak, and what is the most important thing in this life for all of us, Family!
As we meet the characters within the frames of this exquisite film, we are thrust into the lives of Stage Director Charlie (Adam Driver), and his beautiful wife and actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), who are at the height of their marriage disintegrating, even though neither of them presently has the strength, or fortitude, to face the situation head on…
As they both struggle to keep their careers, and marriage intact, it seems that the inevitable is happening, when Nicole seeks refuge and a new start, with her family in LA. Let the bicoastal de-coupling, and custody battle begin, as Charlie must stay focused on his Stage Production, and Company in NYC, but alas with the help of numerous Lawyers assisting in the demise of their relationship, including Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern), Bert Spitz (Alan Alda), and blood thirty tyrant Jay (Ray Liotta), anything is possible! Now with the pain of divorce looming, and the failure they both feel consuming them more and more with each passing week, Charlie and Nicole must focus on not letting this situation totally implode their lives, or the life of the most important person to them both, their son Henry (Azhy Robertson), as they try to form a “new normal” of what works best, for everyone involved…
I give MARRIAGE STORY a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN! Even though it pops on Netflix today 12/6, I suggest that you venture to catch this film at a theater near you instead (It’s showing at Landmark’s Tivoli in St. Louis), as the performances throughout are so exceptional, they are beckoning you to experience them initially on the big screen. The entire cast throughout this film is sheer perfection, from Johansson playing the struggling actress and Mother, trying to come to terms with her husband’s aloofness for her own passions, career, and his infidelity too. Dern is perfection as well throughout, playing lawyer extraordinaire, playing hard ball on Nicole and Henry’s behalf, every step of the way. Although, for me, the ultimate standout performance throughout every inch of this film comes from Driver, as he hits his full acting stride with the portrayal of this character, as he immerses you in the intense pain and anguish this Divorce is inflicting upon his son, himself, and ultimately, the woman he just knew would be in his life with, forever. 2019 has to be hailed as Adam Driver’s “best year yet”, as his performance here ~ along with his incredible performance in THE REPORT ~ and his much anticipated performance still to hit on the big screen, with his next installment as Kylo Ren in Star Wars : The Rise of Skywalker, he is proving, without a doubt, that he has what it takes to make his mark in Hollywood! And I must send some kudos in the direction of Writer/Director Noah Baumbach as well, as his muse of real-life experiences which he recreates for us to enjoy on the big screen, has once again served him very well, as this latest creation hits on my list of the Best films of 2019!