Review of Marriage Story (2019)


Carolina Gonzalez

“Getting divorced with a kid is one of the hardest things to do. It’s like a death without a body.”

In present times, marriage is rarely the beautiful fairy-tale story of everlasting love that films have tirelessly played it out to be. With half of all marriages ending in divorce, it almost seems comical that the film industry and viewers, alike, are so enamored with unrealistic stories of impossible love. While movies dealing with divorces have been made in the past, none have lived up to Noah Baumbach’s incredible interpretation of the reality of falling out of love that is, Marriage Story. In many ways, what makes this film so different from other films about divorce is that it is the first time such a realistic portrayal of divorce is being shared through film. From the court battles to the pain and betrayal felt, the film openly discusses the reality of what many marriages turn into. Yet while the story and acting are undoubtedly brilliant, the writing managed to fail what could have been an incredible movie.

The story follows Charlie (Adam Driver), a well-known theatre director, and Nicole (Scarlette Johansson), an actress on-the-rise, as they struggle to navigate struggles in their divorce. The film opens with a beautiful montage of each stating their favorite things about one another, but quickly turns sour as struggles over custody of their son, and their personal resentment for one another are quickly introduced into the plot. Driver and Johanssen are both incredibly talented and renowned actors who clearly gave the film all they had, but sadly the acting wasn’t enough to save the film from its painfully bland writing. The majority of the script felt like an aimless attempt at creating a story that others could relate to, but without actually putting in any effort. With a length of two hours and seventeen minutes, the film quickly gets to a point where the blandness of the entire story becomes so overwhelming that I considered if I even wanted to finish watching the film. While the acting was incredibly emotive, the script was almost laughable and full of obnoxious chiché’s. Regardless, the film was worth the watch and is guaranteed to leave the viewers with a heavy heart.

Rating: 80/100