Review: Marriage Story

From writer and director Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story is a fearlessly honest portrait about two people navigating the white-water rapids of divorce proceedings, while attempting to maintain their civility and family stability for the sake of their son.

Nicole and Charlie are a couple who are embark on an endeavor to peacefully put their marriage to bed. They start with good intentions but when Nicole’s acting career takes her back home to Los Angeles, while Charlie tries to live his life in New York with his theater company, whatever good intentions they try to maintain, slowly but surely deteriorate, especially when they decide to lawyer up.

Noah Baumbach blew me away with how fiercely and sincerely he wrote and directed this film that falls right in the “art imitating life” space and this is quite frankly the most beautifully honest film I’ve seen so far this year.

Baumbach is so raw with this story he has crafted both in terms of narrative and visual! He takes a subject that is uncomfortable and uses two very human characters to depict the highs and lows of a marriage that has run its course to tell a story that is witty, aching, charming, heartbreaking and so poignantly truthful that its blurs the line between comedy and drama to become something its own.

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are sublime! I wholeheartedly believe they give the best performances of their careers in this movie and this year, I believe they are locks for Oscar nominations.

The both of them do such a tremendous job at playing characters who are trying to find their own voices and live the lives he/she want to live while trying to get to the goal of staying amicable when the papers are signed. Even when the claws are out and they’re at each other’s throats, they are exemplary on screen whether apart or together.

The rest of the cast is rock-solid as well. Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, Azhy Robertson, Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty, Merritt Weaver, there are a lot of good performances beyond Johansson and Driver.

Randy Newman’s music is wonderful, Robbie Ryan’s cinematography is breathtaking, Jennifer Lame’s editing is among the best you’ll see this year, Jade Healy’s production design is crisp, Andrew Hull and Joshua Petersen do a tremendous job with the art direction, the set decoration by Lizzie Boyle, Nicki Ritchie and Adam Willis is very respectable, Mark Bridges’ costumes are spot on. A lot of what you take in with Marriage Story is so minimalistic but it pays off in a big way.

Movies like Marriage Story feature breathtaking honesty and they come around so rarely, you have to stop and appreciate them. Noah Baumbach did a wonderful job at crafting one of the most honest and wonderful films you will see this year.

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