In this tour de force marital epic from Noah Baumbach, a New York theater actor and her director husband face the complications of divorce when she seeks to relocate with their son in tow.
Celebrated for a body of work navigating the absurdities of contemporary life and relationships, Noah Baumbach offers his crowning achievement in Marriage Story. The director’s acute script and direction deeply move as he explores the heartbreak and bleak comedy that ensue when a beloved New York couple seeks what they hope to be an amicable divorce. But nothing is easy in a Baumbach film. After completing a run of their successful, Broadway-bound play, esteemed theater company director Charlie (Adam Driver) and his star actress wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) have agreed to split. Though happy and successful to the outside observer, Nicole has found that her once-endearing role as her husband’s muse long ago deprived her of an independent voice. When a role in a tacky new sci-fi pilot draws her temporarily to LA, Nicole sees it as an opportunity for her and her eight-year-old son Henry (Azhy Robertson) to embrace some space. What begins as a brief sojourn evolves into a possible permanent move, leaving a stubborn Charlie stranded in New York suddenly fighting for his son’s custody and his own pride. The aid of hawkish divorce lawyers (played by the always comically sharp Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Alan Alda) only increases the couple’s antagonism, and their debt. Driver and Johansson deliver career-high performances, best exemplified in the painfully private, soul-crushingly nuanced moments between Charlie and Nicole. Already heralded as this generation’s Scenes from a Marriage or Kramer vs. Kramer, Marriage Story stands as a true testament to what it means to experience life, love, and loss today.
CAST: ADAM DRIVER, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, LAURA DERN, MERRITT WEVER
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