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Review: Netflix's 'Marriage Story' is a tremendous, devastating portrait of divorce

Marriage Story (1).jpg
Marriage Story (Photo: Netflix)

Marriage Story
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Noah Baumbach
Writer: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Merritt Wever
Genre: Drama
Rated: R for language throughout and sexual references.

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Nicole and Charlie are getting a divorce. Henry, their young son, is caught in between.

Review: The wedded bliss of actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver), an off-Broadway director with a stellar reputation, has ended. As Nicole departs New York City to film the pilot for a potential television series, Charlie is left behind to direct his first Broadway play. Their son Henry, the one they swore to protect, goes with his mother, but still gets dragged back and forth between them along the way.

“Marriage Story” is a painful, utterly relatable story about an incredibly intimate chapter in a family’s life that feels universal. It features a script that is brutally honest and pairs it with performances that give director/writer Noah Baumbach’s text a weight and a burden that is placed on the backs of the audience as much as it is shared by the characters.

Laura Dern and Alan Alda add a sense of levity to the story as Nora and Bert, the lawyers representing Nicole and Charlie who do as much to increase the divide between their clients as they do to heal it. The system becomes a shiv passed between Nicole and Charlie. They stab wildly at each other, unintentionally catching Henry and other bystanders.

For me, a child of divorce who views his parent’s divorce as the best decision the two could make at the time, the film was something of an affirmation of my love for Mom and Dad. I was never used as a pawn and for that I am grateful.

For others, the film is a reminder of the pain of divorce as viewed through the eyes of the participants or their child.

“Marriage Story” is a tremendous, emotionally raw film that explores divorce from a myriad of angles. For those who only know Diver as Kylo Ren from the recent Star Wars films or Johansson as Black Widow from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the performances might be a revelation.

You can catch “Marriage Story” in select theaters now. It will be streaming on Netflix on December 6, 2019.