VIFF 2019 | 'Marriage Story' Movie Review
There’s two sides to every story. Marriage Story toggles back and forth between perspectives of an unhappy couple as the events of their divorce unfold. Sprinkle in some comedy, and Marriage Story is a fresh take on an emotionally demanding narrative.
While the film opens with sweet and endearing monologues from estranged spouses Nicole (Scarlett Johannson) and Charlie (Adam Driver) about each other, Marriage Story drops audiences into the beginning phase of their separation. From there, their situation devolves rapidly from disliking each other to detesting the very existence of their marriage as they do whatever it takes to retain as much custody of their son as possible.
Nicole and Charlie care greatly about the things they love: Charlie heavily invested in his successful career as a theater director in New York, Nicole ready to pursue her career in film in Los Angeles, and their son being the only common denominator between them.
Johannson and Driver’s performances are fantastic, but Marriage Story is a heavy film to sit through. This inside look at good people who can’t work out their differences is disheartening, particularly when lawyers inhumanely drive an unapathetic wedge between them. Yet, one explosive scene illustrates how ruthless the two can be independently.
Comedy plays a large role in keeping this bleak story upbeat, making this film the most intense emotional roller coaster of the year. But what Marriage Story does best is show how deeply two people can affect each other…for better or for worse.
Acting and Casting - 2 | Visual Effects and Editing - 2 | Story and Message - 2 | Entertainment Value - 2 | Music Score and Soundtrack - 1 | Reviewer's Preference - 1 | What does this mean?