Film Reviews

Marriage Story (dir. Baumbach)

Meditative, explosive, raw but most importantly - real

Image: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, and Azhy Robertson in Marriage Story © Property of Netflix [Source: IMDB]

★★★★★

A Baumbach compassionate story of a loving couple breaking apart while a family tries to stay together.

Director: Noah Baumbach. Starring: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson [15]

“It’s a love story about divorce” is how Adam Driver explained what this film is and honestly that is just the perfect way to describe it. Because as most mature people will recognise that in the throes of a divorce or even a breakup. Your hate, anger and resentment for the other person can almost seem otherworldly when you look back on it. But in those moments you couldn’t imagine a worse person to have entwined into your life, legally or emotionally. But that is where this movie feels so inventively fresh, at least for me. This came as an utterly refreshing tale of romance but completely different as it was through the perspective of divorce.

Baumbach tells a richly raw and kinetic story. It’s even somewhat echoed through the cinematography which is some sort of weird amalgamation of documentary and fictional camerawork. That’s not to say it’s not great, quite the opposite, in fact, the use of that prejudice on the quality and production value is absolutely genius. It almost makes the narrative feel as though it is happening for real. Which is equally traded off on by the two leads, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson bring a grippingly thunderous simple performance. Yet again it feels like a strange mix of them not even acting and yet somehow completely personifying a character.

The stand out for me has to be Adam Driver, equally so in the narrative. Perhaps my prejudice as a man has me leaning that way or the narrative has been told to leave more sympathy for his character. But none the less, Driver brings a meditative explosive energy to his part that for me made the film in its entirety. This may not sound like a film you want to watch when I say this but it absolutely should – this is a movie that displays the ugly realities of divorce, especially when it comes to the legal aspects. How love is opened up and examined to painstaking lengths that result in both parties denying its existence. But it is here where Baumbach tells one of the best romance stories put to screen. In the rage, the hate, the animosity, the lawyers, the battles, the arguments – there it is…love. He shows and reminds us that despite all these things, that intimacy you grew is still there.

Baumbach dramatised a breakup and starred two of the best leading actors around to tell it. And through every moment, you can feel it. Right down to the bittersweet end.

A graduate of Media Studies at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales, UK. Occasional writer for Buzz Magazine and a few other online outlets. An utter cinephile who finds himself with strong opinions, often through the lens of cinema or a wide range of dabbled interests. Just wanting to share his opinion with people who care to listen and if not for his own self-reflection.

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