Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Movie review: Marriage Story, dir Noah Baumbach (2019)

Solid, interesting movie about love and identity featuring Gen-X actors Adam Driver (Charlie) and Scarlet Johanssen (Nicole) who lob into Los Angeles so Nicole can do some work in a TV show. While in the city she files for divorce. The rest of the film is about the legal process, with Charlie acting like a complete dick because he can’t get what he wants (which is to stay in New York, where the two had been living, so that he can continue his career as a theatre director).

Julie Hagerty is very good as Nicole’s mother Sandra, injecting whimsical humour into what might otherwise have been overly serious fare, and Alan Alda as lawyer Bert Spitz has the best line of the whole movie when he reminds an irate Charlie that Charlie’s son, Henry (Azhy Robertson), will grow up and make up his own mind about which of his parents he wants to see, so getting angry over the divorce is not only counterproductive but useless. Of course, Charlie ignores Bert.

On technical grounds I have no opinion to venture beyond saying that the majority of divorces in my country never get to court, and so the histrionics that Charlie subjects everyone to because of his ego seemed, to me, to be a bit over-the-top. On the other hand, Charlie’s concern for his own happiness at the expense of everyone else’s is probably typical. And small things count in this movie: the echoes of the beginning you find at the end are nice.

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