Netflix's Marriage Story

Netflix’s “Marriage Story” shows the horrors of divorce glaringly

Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star in the moving Netflix’s “Marriage Story.” Directed and produced by Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story” tells of the ugliness and pain associated with the divorce process. At the end of the film, one wonders if divorce is worth the trouble.

The premise of the movie is not a new one but what’s interesting is that it does a good job of explaining the complexities associated with divorce without portraying either of the spouses as the victim. It also tells the story from the standpoint of two people still in love. As Nicole Barber (Johansson) said, it’s not as easy as ‘not loving the other person anymore.’ Additionally, the audience gets to see the perspective of lawyers and how influential or otherwise they can be in the process.

In Baumbach’s story, Nicole is an actress who moved to New York from LA after she married theatre director, Charlie Barber (Driver). Nicole and Charlie complement each other perfectly, except that they are both very competitive. And perhaps that’s where their problem stemmed from.

10 years down the line and with an 8-year old son, Nicole doesn’t want to do theatre anymore. So she gets a job in LA, and asks Charlie for a divorce. The couple agree to co-parent amicably without involving lawyers. Whilst Charlie is of the opinion that Nicole’s move to LA is temporary, Nicole decides that she wants to stay there. Her decision leads to a custody battle which gets very ugly.

The cast of Netflix’s “Marriage Story” is very capable. Both Johansson and Driver did a phenomenal job. Johansson is not the superhero “Black Widow” in Marvel’s Avengers. She is vulnerable. A woman trying to find her voice. Laura Dern who played Nora Fanshaw, Nicole’s lawyer was also exceptional. The “Big Little Lies” star was downright callous. All for winning, clearly having a personal vendetta against men. There are movies that truly bring certain actors to our consciousness. Netflix’s “Marriage Story” is one of them. And it is definitely a defining moment for Driver and Dern.

The movie begins with the most beautiful love letters which show why this couple is made for each. And the story will make you sad as well as see reason from Nicole’s standpoint just as much as Charlie’s. In the end, the biggest lesson is that Nicole understands why Charlie just couldn’t up and go. In the same vein, Charlie makes the compromise Nicole wanted all the while. It is a bitter-sweet ending.


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About the author

A lover of the arts who sees film and television through the eyes of the Nigerian viewer.