"it is one of the few that successfully bring to the screen an emotional and realistic story on how love is always present even when it seems that there is nothing else left in a relationship"
More often than not what hurts the most when a marriage ends is not love’s death or the decision to put a full stop to a relationship. What leaves people breathless is the process of a breakup, the bureaucratic part of it all. Over the years Hollywood has given Love in all its forms to the audience, and Marriage Story is precisely a film about the excruciating process of killing a relationship between two people that used to love each other.
Nicole and Charlie are a young married couple living in New York City, Charlie is a successful Theatre Director and Nicole is his leading lady. However, what at first seems to be a good marriage, behind the curtains everything is crumbling down and this couple is in the process of separating.
When Nicole gets the opportunity to shoot a pilot for a series in LA, she decides to go back home to start her TV acting career again and put an end to her relationship, all while Charlie is finally taking his play to Broadway, the two start a legal fight for their divorce settlement after Nicole is given the name of a good lawyer to represent her, against their initial decision to part ways amicably for the sake of their son, the two end up tearing each other apart.
Produced by Netflix and Directed by Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story is a deep representation of the reality of divorce. At the beginning it seems like Nicole and Charlie will have a friendly and easy split, throughout the film their divorce proceedings spiral out of control when Lawyers get involved. The camera seems to stay impartial to both point of views, just like a spectator.
The audience is part of the journey and is witnessing everything up close. However, while the two main characters only know their pain and their truth, Baumbach allows the viewers to witness both sides of the story and realise how both protagonists are suffering equally through the process.
What is clear is that, as soon as Charlie and Nicole stop talking to each other with honesty, the resentment, anger and frustration gets the better of them and is fuelled by their respective Lawyers. With Marriage Story what needs to be conveyed is raw and real emotions and for it to be effective the story needs to have the perfect combination of script and acting.
Baumbach has a special way with words; the way he makes his character speak from the heart is simple yet effective. However it is the actors interpretation and commitment to the story that makes Marriage Story an honest movie that is not trying to romanticise divorce.
The cast do a fantastic job in portraying their characters in the most natural and simple way. However Adam Driver takes the cake for bringing to the screen Charlie; his interpretation is nothing short of raw and passionate. He portrays on the screen a man that is almost completely broken and is trying to fight for his son as well as for the last sliver of love with his wife. It feels almost impossible not feel something for him and Nicole.
Driver’s chemistry with Scarlett Johansson is perfect; the way both of them keep on making the same small gestures towards one another, make the audience feel like they are watching a real relationship being ripped apart. Driver maintains a perfect balance between rage, frustration and sadness throughout the film and both him and Johansson give it all during one of the last fight scenes between Nicole and Charlie.
Although Marriage Story might not be a film that stands out among the many presented at the London Film Festival this year, it is one of the few that successfully bring to the screen an emotional and realistic story on how love is always present even when it seems that there is nothing else left in a relationship.