Divorce: The Movie!

In preparation for the Oscars on February 9th, the Corral will be reviewing every best picture nomination leading up to the awards.

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Divorce: The Movie!

Marriage Story, released December 6th to Netflix, is a favorite for the Best Picture win.

Marriage Story, released December 6th to Netflix, is a favorite for the Best Picture win.

Marriage Story, released December 6th to Netflix, is a favorite for the Best Picture win.

Marriage Story, released December 6th to Netflix, is a favorite for the Best Picture win.

Trey Williams, Op/Ed Editor

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Marriage Story is a character study of New York City theater director Charlie, played by Adam Driver, and actress Nicole, played by Scarlett Johansson as the two go through a divorce

The acting in the movie was incredible. You would think that in a movie about divorce, there would be more crazy fights or screaming. Instead, this movie goes for subtlety. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson react to things with quiet realism. There isn’t a moment of overacting in this movie, which makes an outburst or an ugly comment really hit you in the gut. 

Writer and Director Noah Baumbach is lauded for his unusually realistic dialogue. After watching this movie, I understand why. The conversations in this movie were so detailed, from awkward comments, phrases that don’t make any sense, to even sneezes. A movie like Marriage Story could easily become melodramatic, but this is avoided through the subtle acting and the documentary-like dialogue. 

Another thing Marriage Story succeeded at was telling the story from each side. Both Charlie and Nicole are complex. This isn’t a story about a terrible husband or wife stealing from their ex, this is a story about two normal people going through the terrible divorce process. Neither of them are saints, but nobody is obviously “worse”. 

Above all, this movie is about what the process of divorce does to people. The build-up in scope of the divorce throughout the movie and what each character does in response to the build-up was both enthralling and frustrating. “It’s messed up, but that’s just how it works,” said by multiple characters throughout the movie, summarizes the themes regarding the process well. 

While there isn’t anything I personally dislike, this movie won’t be for everybody. This movie is slow and dialogue heavy. The sparse use of music and the overall dry delivery from most of the characters all combine to make a movie that isn’t fun in the way many other movies are. If the concept of a character study about two normal people going through a divorce doesn’t interest you, don’t be afraid to skip it. 

Overall, this movie was a huge accomplishment. The movie was able to portray characters at their worst without making them unlikeable. This movie had a great sense of tension. There were multiple scenes I had a visceral reaction to what was going on, from cringing to tearing up. Baumbach was even able to incorporate humor in such a bleak film.  

There is nothing about this movie I dislike. I give this movie a 5/5.