Marriage Story (15)

Marriage Story invites us into the world of Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) as they attempt to navigate a future without each other after the collapse of their marriage. 

Charlie is sought after stage director, with his actor ex-wife Nicole being equally responsible for his success. 

With their son Henry to consider what starts off as an amicable split soon becomes anything but. Flashbacks interspersed into the movie shows us how things used to be. We witness the good alongside the bad. But the overriding message is that they both care for each other dearly. 

When Nicole refuses to go down the mediation route we see the movie shift a gear. The atmosphere changes and soon enough it becomes all out war to destroy the other, with their son being the ultimate prize. There isn’t anything the stubborn ex’s won’t do to gain the upper hand.

While the movie is bittersweet it does have real heart. The last scene had me in tears. It’s the story of a marriage breaking up but a family staying together. 

My main issue with Marriage Story, and the reason for it not gaining more stars, is that you can’t believe that Nicole could go to the depths that she does.

Adam Driver plays his character so well that you’re convinced he’s a jerk, meanwhile Nicole’s character is confused. One minute she’s passive, then gung ho to succeed no matter the cost. The result is that when her really punchy moments come up, you’re left thinking it’s her lawyer, played by Laura Dern, that’s calling the shots, which isn’t the case. 

Marriage Story has a whole lot of heart and offers a refreshingly honest look at the breakdown of a relationship. It sadly wanders off into the obscure for a while, before coming back home again.

By Ruth Barrett

★★★☆☆

Available to stream on Netflix

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