Marriage Story ★★★★

I think it speaks to the power of Netflix’ distribution that a film like Marriage Story has been intensely memed and turned into a viral conversation, much of it surrounding the film’s central dialogue scene. I’ve seen this argument between Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver mocked to oblivion, but in context of the film, the thing that makes it so powerful is everything coming before it. Despite being a film about a marriage and couple tearing apart, Noah Baumbach’s film is incredibly somber up until that point. The emotions are powerful, but never too obvious, instead hidden just underneath the surface as this marriage slowly crumbles and it turns into an emotional build-up of tension that almost turns unbearable throughout the film.

Digging down into the dirty nature of a divorce, Baumbach shines his light from different angles, even the more formal elements through the use of lawyers. Yet the film is never pitch-black, instead actually funny at points—Alan Alda’s turn as a lawyer is the source of much giggles—and very nuanced. Also, can I just say; while this is a dialogue-heavy drama the cinematography absolutely shines. I adore the set-design in every scene and the look is perfect for framing the ambitious gut-punch that is this film. Tearing things up, but also proving how things can be sewn back together in a new way, Marriage Story is a haunting experience lingering for a long while.

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