The master of dysfunctional dramas, Noah Baumbach’s (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES) latest outing is a break-up story of two people still very much in love. This premise has made wonderful films in the past such as Paul Mazursky’s 1973 BLUME IN LOVE where George Segal spends the whole film wooing his ex-wife. MARRIAGE STORY tells both points of view of the love an break up of Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver). The story takes most often Charlie’s side.
They wish to separate on friendly times but things get ugly when they hire lawyers (Ray Liotta and Laura Dern) to what they think might easy the breakup process. A subplot involving child custody brings to mind Robert Benton’s 1979 KRAMER V.S. KRAMER. Director Baumbach reveals both the heartbreak and glory of love in a very dramatic and sensitive portrait aided by excellent performances by Johansson and Deriver.
But it is Driver who steals the show especially in the confrontation seen that might just win him the Best Actor Oscar. An additional bonus is the excellent written and executed court scene where their two lawyers battle it out.