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Marriage Story: A Deeply Layered Account on the Hellish Journey of Divorce

Marriage Story is a grief-stricken motion picture that further confirms my stigma that marriage is a cancerous cultural push. Noah Baumbach’s 12th feature film inspects one of life’s most unnecessary games of hell (divorce) by thoroughly explaining how it can demolish bonds, threaten financial funds, create unmerited battles, and essentially make everybody a part of the process become an absolute prick. F*** marriage, f*** divorce, and f*** the law that condones the rules of divorce. 

Too personal? Okay, let’s start over.

Marriage Story follows Charlie and Nicole—a neutrally dogmatic couple that has lost the desire to be together. These receding partners—played with career-best performances from Adam Driver and (maybe) Scarlett Johannsson—come to a firm decision to separate. From there on out, we witness the bitter exercise that exes must go through when filing a divorce and how exactly it can influence those around them. Importantly though, the movie shows how in-depth discussion between broken couples can be highly important but how the automated laws that want to handle these personal ordeals generate more wrongs than rights. This is like the Spotlight of divorce movies. 

Noah Baumbach’s witty writing performs far better in Marriage Story than in some of his past films like cult-hit Frances Ha. The dialogue is frequently amusing but faintly casual and plausible, which is crucial for a wildly sympathetic narrative such as this. Robbie Ryan’s cinematography can also make the simplest of locations protrude, moreover confirming that cinema’s visual power can countermand the most ordinary of tales. 

Something that was rather distinct about Marriage Story when compared to other divorce-based movies, was the decision to make Charlie and Nicole a couple who are in love with the art of theater. Experiencing this dramatic story from the perspective of two filmmaking divas who have the archetypal peachy dreams and the slight narcissism that comes with even the lightest of famed individuals was engrossing. The Hollywood-esc vibes of Marriage Story’s lead characters, in a sense, helped elevate the more lethal elements of the film.

If I had to sum up Marriage Story as a partial call-to-action for people new or who will be new to the concept of love, it’d be that sometimes aspiration shouldn’t be a commodity that is exclusive to yourself, but it should be a commodity that can be shared with your partner. Make that ambition become a part of the family or relationship that you want to create rather than something that guides you away from one another. And if, ultimately, this combination doesn’t work out, don’t make it a gamechanger that’ll affect your whole entire life, just change it into a learning lesson. Conclusively, Marriage Story is a film’s version of wisdom that begs the question, “Why can’t we just love, move on, and leave it at that?” 

On a side-note though, if you’re worried about money during your expensive divorce, why buy at Whole Foods? Adam, what were you thinking? 

Verdict: A-

“Marriage Story” is now playing in select theaters and will be available to stream on Netflix December 6, 2019.

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