The release of Marriage Story has given a pair of Best Picture nominees for Netflix. A streaming service that still has some people in Hollywood a bit pissy. However, with films like The Two Popes, The Irishman, and Marriage Story, these are films that wouldn’t be made today if it wasn’t for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. In many ways, streaming services are the new independent studios of the mid-nineties. This film is a classic example as to why we need streaming services.
Noah Baumbach’s portrayal of a marriage breaking apart but trying to maintain a family. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson give quite personal and commanding performances. Both self-obsessed over their careers and mistakes, but finding that patching things together is no longer an option. Neither character is without faults. Nicole (Johansson) is a woman that used Charlie (Driver) to escape her old life. While Charlie is so self-obsessed about his work that he can’t truly see the benefit for someone else without seeing how it impacts him.
While both leads are carrying the film, it has some very powerful supporting characters. Laura Dern is getting a lot of praise for her portrayal of Nora Fanshaw, who has some deep-seeded resentment toward the way the law looks at how mothers are to behave, as opposed to fathers. Ray Liotta’s aggressive second attorney, Jay Marotta, is someone you wouldn’t want to fuck with. Compared to Alan Alda’s Bert Spitz, who is a nice-guy lawyer, but doesn’t seem to be helping Charlie’s cause.
If you are a child of divorce, it could be a movie that may bring up many memories. The film has been characterized as a “downer” movie, but it would be the modern-day version of Kramer vs. Kramer. Yet, a more balanced version of the film. Forcing people to grow and find a middle ground to keep a family together. Personally, I think Driver got snubbed for his powerful portrayal at the Golden Globes. A great character driven drama that would not have been made by a studio nowadays.
Rating: 4 stars