Marriage Story (2019) – A Sweet Movie About Breaking Up and Staying Together

There is a powerful craft about Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” about divorce. That’s the reason why Adam Driver’s Charlie and Scarlett Johansson’s Nicole divorced. We don’t know yet. From the first and the end of the movie, we know that in their deepest hearts, they still love each other. But, at the same time, we don’t know why they got divorced. They know each other what they like and what they don’t like. They each have advantages and disadvantages. In the divorce, you don’t need a reason why. That’s why I love this movie.

Noah Baumbach shows a story of “marriage” isn’t always about who is right and wrong through arguing. This movie is like a charming and heartwarming version of “Blue Valentine” and “A Separation“. In “Marriage Story”, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are a couple, in the process of separating. We know them deeply and get first impressions in the first opening sequence. It’s showing their point of view in illustrating the couple alternately.

Both of them, Charlie and Nicole, increasingly understood each other better. They understand their relationship, understand their togetherness, but they also know their relationship isn’t going and will not work well. However, this process requires an obstacle because they must be able to provide the best for their only son. So, they are still together as a family and going through this divorce process regardless of their disagreement with the process.

On the other hand, they make their respective lawyers a weapon in unmasking them so that the process will always, always… be bad and bad again. These two points of view presented in balanced portions. It’s not siding with anyone whom I love very much about this movie. Fairly, we see them following the times of the two characters, alternately, accompanying their son’s time.

Surprisingly, it’s sweet how they look alike. At the same time, we know there was a mistake between their relationship in the middle. A mismatch cannot be forced to be fit in. If most of the movie focuses on extracting mismatches, especially if there are so many argument scenes, it would be a movie to conclude. This movie has a lot of emotions from the characters. There is frustration, feeling betrayed, crying, angry, calm, and others. And all of those dilemmas just pass by like flow in the calm water.

This movie is so natural from the script and the performance; regardless of Baumbach, Driver, and Johansson are victims of divorce relationships. This movie doesn’t have many argument scenes where two characters shine themself. But, this movie has one of the best argument scenes I have ever seen from most films about divorce. It’s just one but two actors shine their performance, gestures, everything. The beginning starts quiet but I know this might be the end of the debate with a lot of emotions in one sequence. The scene has a powerful sequence too because it is all scripted, not improvised.

Most of the scenes feel heartbreaking but most of the time, there is silence as well. Charlie and Nicole didn’t show much resentment other than they just confided with their lawyers. They both are just like friends and respect each other. There is no hatred in their family but they only intend to find badness with each other. One courtroom scene also emphasized that they manipulated each other’s relationship to become more exaggerated. It’s making things worse and worse.

“Marriage Story” isn’t just a movie about divorce. The observation and research of this film have a realistic illustration process in most films. This movie shows how the legal process and the role of lawyers in the courtroom work. When the law usually doesn’t work as the client wants, this movie has a great representation of how the lawyer is always biased; they always only use one point of view or one figure. However, the character’s expression seems shocked by the character pair or his/her “enemy” being attacked.

This movie is subtle, striking one character without being calm but also not. We understand what is in their hearts. They get hurt, either because their partner is doing something or because they feel they aren’t by what the nest demands. There is also a little mistake in the matter of divorce, but these two figures were never realized. Unfortunately, the situation continues to not deny. There isn’t enough moment to breathe and change. They forget the situation after the situation because they were alternating with each other. Even after separating too, they still showed their deepest hearts. They still love even though they’ve covered old wounds. It’s so sweet, dude.

The chemistry between Charlie and Nicole is full of melancholy and dilemma. Every time, regardless there are many funny moments too, they are on a screen together, small moments grow. Driver and Johansson are committed to each other. In addition to this is a personal experience, Baumbach opens up space for actors to fully transform into one screen. There are lots of monologues without cut too, like Johansson’s monologue and how Driver punches the wall. The cinematography is well-crafted and there is the “Mr. Robot” antique specific shot in them. Baumbach also uses close-ups of faces to ensure that these emotions are quite subtle with their characters.

“Marriage Story” is a rollercoaster full of emotions with so many personal things and subjectivity to talk about. This movie doesn’t have any gaps. It’s a flawless movie for me. Both perspectives of both characters are very strong but also balanced with their respective portions. The striking, humorous, and emotional dialogues change. Performance on the screen produces a solid vision. There is a little bit of random sequence as well as the dance scene and singing. It’s brave to take the risk.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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