Marriage Story (2019) Movie Review

August Biernbaum, Author

Marriage Story is a 2019 Netflix exclusive film directed by Noah Baumbach which is focused on the story of Charlie Barber (Adam Driver), and his wife, Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), a stage director and actress respectively. This film story of their coast-to coast divorce, and how it effects their marriage and lives as a whole. After taking their young son Henry (Azhy Robertson) with her to California, Nicole looks for acting work and reconnects with her strange family while the divorce “passes over.” The original plan was to initiate the divorce with civility and go about it without lawyers, but that changes when information comes to light. With their feelings for each other ¬†through the gauntlet, the two equipped themselves with lawyers and prayed for the best. With Laura Dern’s character Nora Fanshaw, the cold blooded lawyer of Nicole with a bias, the two set out out on the adventure of gaining custody of Henry. Charlie, at this time, is faring far worse, with a struggling fight, as he doesn’t have a lawyer, and he lives across the country in New York. It escalates into a full blown custody battle, and drags everyone through the dirt by the time it is over.


This movie deals with the struggles of divorce most people don’t see, and how that can deeply change how people feel about one another. It goes through the turmoil that one can feel while going through the legal process, and that’s what makes it different. It puts emphasis on the fact that no singular person is correct in this situation, and that one new piece of information can put someone ahead. It has the ability to bring out the worst in people, which is only rivaled by Monopoly. If you see one person as the winner, you are watching it wrong, as Baumbach said. Both sides play on emotional manipulation and pain, and the interesting part is that neither side truly hates each other. While I see both sides, I am more inclined to side with Charlie, as I can more easily relate to what his issues and struggles are. I see him as a man with insecurities and the desperation to see his son, which becomes more and more inconsistent, and at points, he is beaten down to be a mere child. He acts as though he sees himself as a child in the situation, an innocent mind being pulled by forces he cannot comprehend. I feel characters with issues are more interesting in media as they are more in tune with the common person, and this is a major strength of this film. It is currently on the award circuit this season, and it is mopping the floor with other movies. In my honest opinion, it is the most important film of the second half of 2019, as it focuses on human emotions and character development rather than flashy theatrics and plotless action or drama. It is a great movie, and a must watch for any Netflix customer.


Score: 9/10