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Marriage Story

Rated 14 Accompaniment

(Coarse Language, Sexual Content) 136 minutes

Dir: Noah Baumbach, US, 2019
Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Alan Alda, Wallace Shawn, Ray Liotta, Laura Dern Mark O'Brien

“Marriage Story is something special. It follows actress Nicole (Scarlett Johnasson) and director Charlie (Adam Driver) as their marriage reaches a point of no return and they begin to undergo a difficult divorce that primarily centres on the care of their young son. As the battles grow more bitter and unhealthy, can the pair remember what it was that they loved about each other in the first place or is all that has transpired too much to ever turn back from?... The calm build-up to a hurricane of human turmoil - aided by a charming but melancholic score from the iconic Randy Newman - is so natural yet cinematically executed that it feels like an insight into the death of a real-life love. This perfect film would not be possible, however, without the Oscar-worthy turns from its leading couple. Scarlett Johansson offers a career-best performance as the exuberant and neurotic Nicole, whose expressive handling of her own personal heartbreak feels in stark contrast to that of her more reserved and selfish husband. Johansson's charisma is used to such an effortless degree, but her most affecting work is also delivered with such gusto that it never feels theatrical. Meanwhile, Adam Driver takes a character who is also flawed but utterly empathetic in Charlie, a 'genius' artist who is blind to the hurt he has caused his wife but is also now suffering himself, with such a natural understated turn that explodes later in the film into one of pure devastation and - believe it or not - the best musical number in cinema this year. This incomparable duo are supported with winning showings from Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta as the attorneys who become the necessary but toxic weapons in ensuring the dying marriage will be put out of its misery... However, Marriage Story is not grim. It is also a tale of hope and the need for empathy for the life-partners who come and go in our lives and Baumbach reminds us that understanding is the best component for growth and moving on. Laughs will be had, tears will be shed, and everything else in between will likely be felt by anyone who watches this film that will linger long in the mind after the credits roll and awards season comes and goes.” - Lewis Knight, The Mirror