2019 TIFF Movie Review: MARRIAGE STORY (USA 2019) ****

Marriage Story Poster
Trailer

Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

Director:

Noah Baumbach

Writer:

Noah Baumbach

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.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y1HhAlAOTs

Film Review: THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED) (USA 2017) ****

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The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Poster
Trailer
An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father.

Director:

Noah Baumbach

Writer:

Noah Baumbach

 

The one of two Netflix originals that premiered at Cannes this year (with OKJA), THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES took critics by surprise (despite being booed at the screenings for being a NETFLIX film) with many hailing it as one of their favourite Top 10 at Cannes.

The film is so-called THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES as it revolves around multiple stories among the different members of the Meyerowitz family.  It starts off with Danny driving around the city with his daughter cussing while trying to find parking.  “Garage it,” the daughter says.  The family patriarch is Harold (Oscar Winner Dustin Hoffman sporting a full beard).  He is old, hospitalized at one point and is more interested in his art and coming-up museum showcase opening than in his family.  His new wife is alcoholic recovered, Maureen (Emma Thompson) wanting to seek the family house.  Their sons include Danny (Adam Sadler) who is recently separated and moving ingot he parents house and who has never worked a day in his life.  The successful son, making the money is Matt (Ben Stiller) who the family resents because of jealousy that he is capable to making the most money.  The daughter is Jenny (Elizabeth Marvel) into into making movies.  Everyone comes together in this dysfunctional family with drastic and comedic results.  Bambauch has mastered this genre with his film flowing smoothly.

Director Bambauch (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, MISTRESS AMERICA, FRANCES HA) allow each actor their freedom to do their own thing and inhabit the characters they portray.  Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller in their rare serious roles shine in their performances.  They show both angst and desperation as men that been betrayed by the artistic father (Dustin Hoffman sporting a full white beard.)  Emma Thompson sporting elderly age makeup plays the step-mother reminiscent of a similar motherly role in the British film THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON. 

The film has a Jewish cast and crew, led by its director Bambauch.  The film has definitely a Jewish impression that leaves a fine imprint and is not overpowering.  It runs a bit long at 2 hours, but the free flowing characteristic of the film allows it to keep going, without it getting monotonous or boring.  One can always count on Bamnauch to add another story to his list.

The film’s best moments are in the script’s sharp dialogue.  The best line comes from Dr. Soni after the children abruptly questions her saying it isn’t fair for on her leaving for vacation in China while leaving their father in an induced coma.  (This current state of affairs is already really funny in itself)  Her reply: “yes, it isn’t!”  The response sums up what each of the siblings have gone through being a member of the Meyerowitz family.

THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES establishes Bambauch once again as the Master of films on dysfunctional families and quirky characters.

The film is available on NETFLIX for on-line streaming to subscribers.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czyMIIm12JY

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Happy Birthday: Noah Baumbach

noahbaumbach.jpgNoah Baumbach

Born: September 3, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

[re Woody Allen] I think my parents had “Getting Even”, which was one of his collections, and when I read it I couldn’t believe it. I thought they were the funniest things that I had ever read, but also felt–this is the thing they say about great poetry or something–it’s like your own thoughts brought back to you with added majesty. It was like my own funny ideas brought back, and he just seemed so smart and funny, and I just felt so connected to it from that point forward.

MOVIE POSTERFRANCES HA
2013
dir. Noah Baumbach
Stars:
Greta Gerwig
Mickey Sumner

The Squid and the Whale
2005
dir. by Noah Baumbach
starring
Daniels
Laura Linney
Greenberg
dir. Noah Baumbach
Stars
Ben Stiller
Greta Gerwig