Marriages don’t always have happy endings. What happens then?
Marriage Story is a film that deals with the “Now what?” question after couples file for divorce.
The film opens with the voice of Charlie (played by Adam Driver). Charlie talks about the things he loves about his wife Nicole, as a video montage plays of Nicole (played by Scarlett Johansson) acting, playing with their son and dancing with fellow theater members. The visuals have blurry edges and soft light, indicating a warm feeling tied with those memories. The clips and Charlie’s voice end and is replaced by Nicole’s voice narrating what she loves about Charlie. Visuals of Charlie tucking his son in to bed, cooking and cleaning are also painted with blurry edges and warm light.
But after the montage ends, the fuzzy warmth stops and we see Nicole with puffy red-eyes sitting in a marriage therapist office with Charlie. We then see Nicole and Charlie holding letters- the written script of what they had spoken in the montages. The therapist asks Nicole to read her letter aloud to Charlie, but she refuses and leaves when Charlie tries to encourage her by saying he’ll share his letter.
The film then cuts to Nicole acting in one of Charlie’s plays. Once her scene is over, the cast and crew have drinks at a restaurant, but as one of the stage managers comes over to whisper something to Charlie, Nicole’s smiles fades and she leaves the restaurant. Charlie ignores the stage manager and rushes after her. We then see them in a subway train, across from each other with Nicole red-eyed again. After arriving at the apartment in New York, Nicole says goodnight to Charlie and goes to the bedroom, where we finally see her tears as she cries.
The film then cuts to Nicole’s mother waking Nicole and her son Henry (played by Azhy Robertson). Nicole has been living with her mother now and is an actress in California. A fellow crew member at Nicole’s TV show gives her the number to a reputable divorce lawyer named Nora (played by Laura Dern).
It’s from this point of the movie that we see Nicole break the couple’s promise to not get lawyers involved, and that Charlie had cheated on her with the stage manager. Nicole then formally gives Charlie the papers to arrange their divorce with lawyers and tells him to get one. We see his demeanor change and he looks startled and sad as he leaves Nicole. We see Charlie look for a lawyer, where he feels intimidated by the process and doesn’t want to fight with Nicole with lawyers. But in another phone call he receives from Nora, he finds out that if he doesn’t find a lawyer, Nicole will legally get full custody of their son. Funny enough, Nicole’s mother gives Charlie the number of a lawyer who Charlie sees and likes.
In the next few scenes we see Charlie try to spend time with Henry but fail to connect with him. It’s in this time Charlie finds out that Nicole plans to stay in California and not move back to New York as they had previously planned. Charlie gets angry and calls Nicole and she hangs up and in anger, has sex with a flirty crew member from her show.
The film then cuts to a room where both Charlie, Nicole and their lawyers are mediating their divorce. The lawyers argue while Charlie and Nicole look sad and nervous. Charlie’s lawyer then takes him aside and tells him to settle with letting Nicole have full custody, which upsets Charlie a lot and he cries.
As the divorce goes to court, Charlie shows up with the intimidating lawyer he had passed on before and we can see Charlie much more serious. The court proceedings end with the judge wanting an examiner to come to both parent’s house and judge their parenting abilities.
The examiner comes to Charlie’s house and has awkward conversations with Charlie as he tries to show her he’s a good father. At the end of the visit, he accidentally cuts himself and plays it off as nothing, but then faints once she leaves.
At a party with her cast members, Nicole learns that Nora has finalized the divorce and she will be getting a 55/45 custody of Henry. Nicole is upset that it’s not a fairly shared custody, but Nora encourages her that it is a “win” against him.
During the last few scenes of the film, Charlie expresses his sadness as he sings at a restaurant. But in the next scene, he visits Nicole’s house to go trick-or-treating with Henry and Nicole’s family (and new boyfriend). We learn that Nicole is getting awards, and that Charlie has moved closer to LA and has a residency at UCLA to direct two plays. Both their lives are moving forward, even if Charlie is still sad. While Nicole and her family get ready in their costumes, Charlie finds Henry reading the letter that Nicole had written in the beginning of the film. He reads the letter and sees how much Nicole loves him and always will. After this, we can see Charlie perk up and he looks much more at peace with their divorce. He trick-or-treats with Nicole’s family and he shares a moment with Nicole as she ties his shoes- showing that she will always still be his friend. And the film ends with Charlie carrying Henry to his car.
Marriage Story is a long emotional rollercoaster and does a good job of showcasing the sadness divorcees go through, even if both go in with good intentions of wanting to be friends. It’s such a simple storyline, but it’s the small details of divorce that one can overlook or not realize that make the film so heartfelt.
Release Date: 15 November 2019
Starring: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Azhy Robertson, Laura Dern
Director: Noah Baumback
Runtime: 2h 17m
IMDB Page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7653254/
Wiki Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_Story
Joanna Prabhu | Writing Contributor & Marketing
B.S | Public Relations | San Jose State University
During the isolation and tough realities of today’s world, the need for good entertainment and leisure activities has become more important to maintain healthy optimistic minds. Student journalist Jozy Prabhu is an arts & entertainment writer who reviewed the first 2019 Cinequest movie, covered the first event of Facebook First Fridays at the San Jose Museum of Art, covered conductor Jeffrey Schindler’s live movie orchestral performance of “Star Wars: A New Hope” and more. Prabhu is a hair, skincare and makeup enthusiast, making her a well-researched writer for GeekRockTV’s Fashion & Beauty section. Keep a lookout for her stories on GeekRockTV.com. Instagram: @jozyprabhu| View My Articles
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