The work of Noah Baumbach is hard to generalize, his films are usually about people who are common. They aren’t about great people or heroes of yore, instead, they’re stories of the regular guy or the regular girl, in a modern setting. This is exactly the case with Marriage Story, It’s a film about struggling, both in a literal and metaphoric sense. It’s one of the most dialogue-heavy films that Baumbach has made in a while, going from a character study in Frances Ha and a tragedy in The Meyerowitz Stories.
How to Stream or Download Marriage Story (2019)
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. if you like Scarlett Johansson, check, check out also his other films – The Island (2005) or Black Widow (2021).
The Movie Review
Marriage Story follows the life of a stage director named Charlie Barber and his actress wife Nicole Barber. They’re going through a bunch of different struggles at the same time, both of them are fighting their own demons while raising their child Henry.
Their internal conflicts are at an all-time high as they feel they have hit their creative peak already, struggling to produce anything of worth to themselves. The second thing they’re struggling with is their marriage, fighting on the very brink of divorce as the two are changing as people and artists at the same time.
The film showcases the series of court procedures, advocates doing what they do, constant sequences of talking through the procedures, fighting over the custody of their only child, and meticulously going through the details of a very messy divorce.
Though, that would have been a simple film. Instead, Baumbach decides that he wants to make this film more about the characters as well. The lens of the camera constantly focuses on the characters who are going through this, Charlie and Nicole. The two characters are constantly shown struggling with the consequences of their actions, and they are focused on in an obtrusive way in the film.
The characters that they’ve chosen to study are quite intriguing, each having their own demons and their own internal battles going on. This wouldn’t have been conveyed on screen without a good cast, and fortunately, Baumbach has some of the greatest castings of them all.
Adam Driver is perhaps one of the most fascinating and talented actors of the modern generation, and it would have been more than enough if it was just him in the film. Though Baumbach doesn’t want that, he brings in Scarlett Johanson to portray Nicole in the film just because he thinks that character deserves one of the best actors working in the industry as well.
If that wasn’t enough, they’ve got even more star power in the barrel with fantastic actors such as Laura Dern and Ray Liotta, as well as character actors like Alan Alda, Wallace Shawn, Martha Kelly, and Julie Hagerty.
The cast in this film is flawless, every single one of them performs on point and delivers something amazing for the audience. Though not important to the film overall, every minor character has that taste of nuance that you expect from a Noah Baumbach feature.
Robbie Ryan’s cinematography is off the charts here, every single shot is framed to perfection. The color grading is perhaps the most important aspect of this film, as the warm undertones for most of it are such a subtle and symbolic delicacy for the characters’ fakery and their well-maintained composure. The music by Randy Newman comes in with soft undertones, inching to make you cry and bawl your eyes out.
The Bottom Line
This might just be the best film of Baumbach’s career as a director. His work has always been outstanding and constantly inventive. This is where he has hit his stride in my opinion, and as a director, he has flourished into a true auteur.
It’s hard to make the distinction between a film and reality when you’re watching Marriage Story, and that makes this one of the most impressive films that only Noah Baumbach could have made.
- Impeccable script writing, the dialogue feels real.
- The characters are perfected with great acting and writing.
- The cinematography is outstanding, the colors pop, and the grading is phenomenal.
- The music is an elevating aspect of the film’s design.
- The film feels as real as anything can.