“Marriage Story” is an honest and heartbreaking film on divorce

Naomi Rabino

“Marriage Story” is a heartbreaking, yet beautiful film about divorce, love, and family. Noah Baumbach writes his characters with such care and realism that it’s hard to watch the film without feeling connected to them. 

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, who play Nicole and Charlie, deliver incredible performances. Their display of vulnerability further engages the viewer and heightens the authentic nature of the film. It is easy for the audience to understand the mess of emotions that come along with the separation. Even side characters are made memorable by its actors. Particularly, Laura Dern who plays Nora Fanshaw, a divorce lawyer. She brings so much charisma to her character that she practically steals every scene she’s in. 

The movie, for the most part, strays from being over-the-top, which makes the small moments and gestures stand out. This one of my favorite aspects of the film because it is meaningful and intentional. Something as simple as tying one’s shoelace demonstrates how the person still cares for the other. Baumbach included these little details to give insight on a character and sometimes their relationship with other characters.

“Marriage Story” follows a couple, Charlie and Nicole, going through a coast-to-coast divorce. The split was originally meant to be amicable, but as lawyers get involved the issues begin to pile up and distance the pair. Worst of all, their son, Henry, is caught in the middle of it. At its heart, it is just about a couple who want to separate and a family that wants to stay together. 

Prior to “Marriage Story,” Baumbach directed and wrote Frances Ha and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). Similarly, they also felt personal due to seemingly familiar characters and strong performances. Contrastly, they were lighthearted and comical. Though his latest release has its moments, its tone is far more somber. 

The blend of the strong cast, beautifully composed score and Baumbach’s stylistic touch create for a strong film that will keep its audience engaged and leave them feeling like a different person by the end of it.