FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Marriage Story,” which stars Adam Driver (Paterson, Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens), Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Infinity War, Isle of Dogs), Azhy Robertson (Juliet Naked, The Plot Against America [TV series]), Julie Hagerty (Airplane!, Just Friends), Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, Blue Velvet), Alan Alda (M*A*S*H [TV series], The Four Seasons), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Narc), Merritt Wever (Signs, Michael Clayton), and Wallace Shawn (Toy Story, The Princess Bride). It is written and directed by Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha). Charlie (Driver) and Nicole (Johansson) are separating, though it is not as easy as they thought it’d be.
Marriage has never been peachy in cinema. At least nowadays. “Marriage Story” tells of the separation of two characters, Charlie and Nicole, and the life they try to build apart while keeping dual custody of their son. It’s an interesting study written and directed by Noah Baumbach, whose former work includes “The Squid and the Whale” and Netflix’s own “The Meyerowitz Stories.” We’ve seen films involving divorce before, but Baumbach crafts a unique affair with stellar performances from his leads, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. I knew they would shine in this, but not as bright as what I eventually witnessed. Their chemistry was fantastic, the dialogue even more masterful. It’s raw, genuine, and real, which is hard to come by in the world of cinema. These characters feel real, as does their situation. The balance between the both of them and their individual lives/opinions is done incredibly well, making me sway back and forth in terms of who I feel is most right. The fact is, neither of them are; they’re broken, as is humanity, and I found the story to be fascinating in this regard. Not only were Charlie and Nicole well written, but so were the supporting characters, played by amazing talents like Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, and Julie Hagerty. I genuinely laughed at this piece, at all the right moments. It has a witty sense of humor that I’m sure pulls from real life experiences and people. “Marriage Story” doesn’t seek to dazzle audiences, but it packs a heavy punch. With its raw dialogue and performances, there are several moments within the story that hit deep, and I couldn’t help but be glued to the screen throughout the course of the picture. It honestly felt like it was made in the ‘90s, with its dialogue-centered story, cinematography that plays into the performances, and presence that seems older, more refined. Maybe it makes it timeless, who knows. Another note to make is how beautiful the music score is. Throughout the film, I thought to myself just how much it sounds like it belongs to a Pixar feature, and sure enough I saw Randy Newman’s name in the credits. Gosh, that man’s amazing. While it sounds like some of his other stuff, you can’t help but smile at his composition (even if it is played during sad moments). Is “Marriage Story” the most original thing out there? No, but the characters are freshly written, as is the story. It’s an enjoyable, emotional ride that embodies cinema itself. I’d recommend you try it. FINAL SCORE: 93%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: