One thing I love to look for and analyze in movies, is their ability to create and tell stories that expose viewers to today’s harsh realities that not all of us have needed to live through. This depth is a large part of my taste when it comes to entertainment, and Marriage Story is no exception. Within the movie, Scarlett Johansson as Nicole and Adam Driver as Charlie portray a married couple struggling through a divorce while trying their best to both be parents to their eight-year-old son, Henry, played by Azhy Robertson. Supporting cast members include Laura Dern and Merritt Wever. The movie was directed by Noah Baumbach.
Marriage Story shows that while coming to the decision to separate may be stressful enough, the long process to follow can be even worse. That process within the film includes lawyers, money, and custody of Henry. In addition to the legal complications of the divorce process, one thing that Charlie struggles with is juggling time for his Broadway career, and time to be a dad for Henry. Nicole’s struggles are more internal, with feelings such as guilt and self-conflict.
The movie does a fantastic job of shifting between the two leads periodically while keeping their screen time as equal as possible. That helped me understand both main characters. However, for most of the movie, I was on the side of either one or the other. It was only the beginning and the end of the movie when I felt for both of them at the same time.
While viewing the film, I couldn’t help but think to myself how little sympathy I feel for any character other than Charlie, Nicole and Henry themselves. Most supporting characters, such as lawyers and counselors involved in the divorce are condemned. However, that felt right to me as I think that aspect of the plot helps emphasize the family side of a divorce, rather than the legal side. A lot of scenes even start off with Charlie and/or Nicole without showing anyone else on screen for a good minute or two. When thinking about the movie, I realize that this could’ve put pressure on Johansson and Driver as leads, but their performances are so lifelike that it seems unlikely for anyone to have such a thought until after watching.
Up until watching today on the release date, I was really looking forward to Marriage Story. It definitely lived up to my expectations. Marriage Story is now available to stream on Netflix.