Netflix's new film Marriage Story has divided the internet

Darren Richman
Monday 09 December 2019 15:00
Showbiz

Marriage Story landed on Netflix last week and many film fans watched the movie over the weekend. The divorce drama has been nominated for six Golden Globes, just ahead of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and The Irishman with five apiece.

The film is a deeply personal effort from Noah Baumbach, charting the breakdown of a marriage between a successful director and his actor wife. While it might not be entirely autobiographical, Baumbach has said he drew on his own experiences with Jennifer Jason Leigh:

I have a real connection to the material… I was also at a time in my life where many of my friends were getting divorced. I saw it as an opportunity to do something more expansive, so I did a lot of research. I interviewed a lot of my friends, and friends of friends, and then also lawyers, judges, mediators.

One of the most interesting elements of the film is that the couple don't despise each other and things only truly go awry the second the lawyers (memorably played by Alan Alda, Laura Dern and Ray Liotta) get involved.

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver give exceptional performances at the heart of the film, a profound meditation on the dying embers of a relationship that calls to mind classics like Kramer vs. Kramer and Husbands and Wives.

While The Meyerowitz Stories, Baumbach’s previous work, was betrayed by its title and felt somewhat episodic in nature, Marriage Story is, fittingly, laser-focused in its approach. This is one story told from the beginning of the end to, well, the end of the end. It’s devastating at times but also feels hopeful by its conclusion. The film feels so close to what must have been the reality of Baumbach’s experience with divorce that we might as well be reading his diary. Yet Marriage Story is likely to resonate with anyone with experience of relationships.

Naturally, Twitter being Twitter, opinion was mixed for an adult drama.

And then there were the naysayers.

Clearly, Marriage Story is not for everyone. But for those who can still stomach mature storytelling with a focus on the nuances of actual human behaviour, it's unmissable.

More: Scarlett Johansson says her comments on authentic casting were ‘taken out of context’ and people are still unimpressed

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