Lead by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, Marriage Story explores the divorce process, a couple played by Johansson and Driver, go through. The movie starts off immediately on a footing that shows the storyteller behind the movie is interested in being straightforward.
Both Nicole and Charlie recall the good parts of each other in a mediation setting, hinting that they are not interested in getting lawyers involved in the process. However, things soon change when Nicole approached star divorce lawyer played by Laura Dern.
Things go awry from then on.
Marriage Story explores and dissects the divorce process and portrays the falling apart of two people who were once committed to each other as they struggle to stay as friends and be sure to not allow the divorce to affect their son’s life.
Johansson’s portrayal as an ex-wife, mother and an actress getting back into Hollywood might just be her best performance of the year. She slips in and out of tones and moods at the right time for the right scene, best seen during scenes where she holds herself together in between conversations with Charlie and then breaking down the minute she leaves him to be by herself.
Her portrayal convinces audiences that loving one another is not as simple as it seems. This is not to say that Driver’s performance is not as equally as convincing, as he manages to put on quite a show in a wittier way. His love for his son pushes him to pursue decisions that prove to be detrimental but facing the intimidation of the legalities of the divorce process, he pushes forward.
Speaking of the legal procedural tone in the movie, Marriage Story makes sure that while they want to stick to portraying the life and times of the couple breaking up, they also stayed true to how horrid divorce processes can get, which is not to stay all divorce process experiences a similar level of turmoil but in this particular story, it gets bad.
Besides the brilliant performance by Johansson and Driver, both of whom deliver performances of characters who are filled flaws and struggles, supporting roles played by Laura Dern and Ray Liotta (who plays Charlie’s lawyers) equally stands out as well.
Ray Liotta who had a guest star role as a lawyer in The Good Fight brings back his well-received performance as a lawyer in the tv show into Marriage Story perfectly.
While Marriage Story may just sound like a story of tragedy, director Noah Baumbach injects enough humour and laughter into the right scenes in an attempt to balance the tone throughout the movie.