Due to the current state of affairs and the fact that cinemas are closed until the following notice (hence the name of the new category), I thought I’d use this time to discuss some gems (or even cucumbers) of recent times that haven’t cut into my usual programming due to different reasons. The first film discussed today is the Oscar-winning but overlooked Netflix film Marriage Story.
Charlie Barber is a successful New York theater director, and his wife Nicole is his inspiration and a crowd-pleaser. When she decides to split with him, his life is shattered. The decision is more than an unwelcome surprise. In addition, Nicole wants to return to Los Angeles at all costs to rework her film career, which was put on hold.
As she is also planning to bring their son along together, what was a reached “friendly” separation quickly transforms into a conflict with hardened fronts. The lawyers summoned to the scene increased the tension, and what started as a, based on the facts, easy divorce procedure could become out of control.
After reading the table of contents, if you think this is a film filled with drama and fantastic emotions that are a bit broad, it is in error. Because Marriage Story is quite a quiet and gentle film in its emotionality. While the classic divorce drama, Kramer vs. Kramer, was a film that highlighted the agony of the affected with emotional courtroom speeches and emotional outbursts but here, the calm tone prevails. There’s a little bit of meanness here, a snide word there, and the two aren’t able to do than rebuke themselves for the reason that Charlie and Nicole do not hate one another. They just don’t like each other anymore.
This is likely one of the main reasons the only argument in the film can have had such an impact on the viewer. There is no reason to harm another person, but people tend to react emotionally and negatively in extremely stressful psychological situations. The film also offers a critical review of the effect of divorced lawyers who are incredibly ambitious on this particular dynamic and that of their respective families and friends. It is possible to identify yourself in every word quickly and every gesture, for regardless of whether you support either side while watching, both choices are natural and logical in every moment.
This is in part made possible thanks to the fantastic script. Very rarely do characters from fiction get in such proximity to you or someone in your surroundings that you are constantly reminded of. This is also true for dialogue. They don’t sound like speeches reciting meaning, which often happens in movies like this. Ordinary people don’t do that; they don’t fight as such. They just throw insults at one another from time to time just because they cannot imagine anything better to do in an instant. They don’t discuss the things that affect them because they fear being vulnerable and prone to attack. They commit blunders that they regret later. Grand gestures are often the result of desperation as they are from determination.
Another reason why this intimate story is so well-written is the stellar actors. Adam Driver, as Charlie, has proven his talent repeatedly over the last few years in an impressive manner, while Scarlett Johanssen’s abilities are often overlooked. Both are at their finest when they play mundane, grounded characters who have everyday problems and life experiences (see Paterson and Lost in Translation and Lost in Translation, respectively). This is precisely what they’re doing in this film. Both were nominated for lead-role Oscars In both instances, and very well-deservedly so. The first-rate supporting cast doesn’t fall short; by comparison, it is nearly incredible, yet the reverse is the case. The one Oscar the film Marriage Story got was for the excellent Laura Dern, who breathes life into Nicole’s equally passionate and frightful divorce lawyer.
There’s something documentary-like about how writer and director Noah Baumbach captures his story through pictures. It’s not like a plot point to trigger a reaction in the viewers. Instead, you get the sensation of being witness to the separation from an outsider. Which is actually what you are. This is often achieved through lengthy, but never overly long, shots that often let the pertinent events disappear. But, again, it’s not for viewing; It’s just what happens and makes the whole scenario appear more real to us. In this case, Charlie or Nicole was our good friends or neighbors.
If you’re a fan of outsized world-weariness and emotional speeches that are a big part of your dramas, then you’ve been to the wrong place with Marriage Story.This is a story about two people who’ve forgotten to cherish each other and the emotional turmoil they experience while trying to find a way to align their lives. A high-quality script and cast that isn’t inferior make this scenario one that is well-known to us all in some way or another, as easy and understandable as a film could be—a great movie about the usual craziness of a typical day.