Marriage Story (2019)

2h 16m / R / Comedy, Drama

Marriage Story begins with a fake-out. Via voiceover, spouses Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) enumerate the things, big and small, that they adore about each other: she’s an unparalleled listener, an expert gift giver, an “infectious” dancer; he’s a natural with their young son, a surprisingly great dresser, cries at movies. Glimpses of their shabby-chic domestic contentment are shown as a bittersweet Randy Newman score swells. It’s all warmly romantic in a grounded, adult way. It doesn’t last.

Divorce is described in director Noah Baumbach’s masterful Marriage Story as like a death without a body. Something has been lost. There is grieving, anger, denial. Baumbach captures the insidious nature of divorce, how two well-meaning people who still care about each other will do things they would never think they would do, portraying divorce as a great equalizer, turning us into the worst and least recognizable versions of ourselves. A film Variety called “the Noah Baumbach movie we’ve been waiting for,” Marriage Story is a touching meditation on what it looks like when the best part of your life falls apart.