Whatever your thoughts on Netflix distributing high profile films, seeing brand new films in the comfort of one’s own room is an undeniably appealing concept, especially for busy college students. With that said, there is no excuse for anyone with a Netflix subscription—whether your own or that of your former roommate’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin-to not see Marriage Story. Noah Baumbach’s new film tells the semi-autobiographical story of a divorce. After accepting an offer to shoot a TV pilot in Los Angeles, Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) brings her son to the City of Angels, leaving behind New York and her theater director husband Charlie (Adam Driver). The film ingeniously splits time between the two leads, dichotomizing audience empathy to achieve a holistic understanding of both characters. The film delves into the more procedural aspects of a divorce—Baumbach develops characters through bringing a child to meetings with divorce attorneys or the legal fallout of being served divorce papers 3,000 miles from home just as much as he does from familial conflicts. With Marriage Story, Baumbach delivers some of his finest directorial work yet; every frame is brilliantly staged and composed. This extends to the film’s performances, which are nothing short of astounding. Johansson shines as a mother struggling to reclaim her own dreams, while Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta all provide excellent supporting turns. Driver steals the show, however, in perhaps his performance to date. Crushing, funny, terrifying, and inspiring all at once, Marriage Story will likely dominate awards season discussions. Marriage Story is now streaming on Netflix.
Photo Credit: Wilson Webb/Netflix.