Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019) wr. Noah Baumbach; Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta
It's an actor's film, and almost a two-hander—tho there is enough time in 2.25 hours for Laura Dern to give a finely-honed Best Supporting Actress-y performance.
I don't know anything about Noah Baumbach's personal life, but this might as well be autobiographical, so closely does it examine the breakdown of a relationship. ... I wrote that before discovering that the film does in fact draw on the breakup of Baumbach's marriage with Jennifer Leigh.
Personally, I don't feel that Adam Driver was capable of carrying the weight of the responsibility of the central role. His one 'hysterical' scene did not redeem the many long passages of blandness. Johansson was the opposite: she was acting all the way through, but at the price of not looking like a real person. ... On the other hand, her character is an actress, so on reflection I'm being unfair. And Adam Driver does look like a theatre director (who has to keep his head while all about him etc.) so I'll take that back too.
Noah Baumbach >
Having said nothing, I'll shut up, and give the floor to Owen Gleiberman, from Variety: "At once funny, scalding, and stirring, built around two bravura performances of incredible sharpness and humanity, it’s the work of a major film artist, one who shows that he can capture life in all its emotional detail and complexity — and, in the process, make a piercing statement about how our society now works."
Christina Newland, Sight&Sound: " Noah Baumbach’s own divorce from actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is his acknowledged inspiration. How close the story cleaves to real events is questionable, but he nonetheless addresses the fatal flaws in the relationship – and himself, by proxy – with painful clarity. ... Driver, as a sort of Baumbach sketch, brings his own burly physicality to bear on the role."
Anonymous director and Academy voter, quoted by IndieWire: "I was happy I saw Marriage Story on the big screen with an audience. It’s beautifully written and performed – I’d pick Adam Driver over Joaquin Phoenix. Everyone is great in it." ...
Best Actor. I didn’t see Phoenix hit seven different notes, like Adam Driver. I will vote for Adam Driver. The 'Being Alive' scene is incredible, but in several scenes Scarlett Johansson matches him. She’s underrated in that movie, she’s spellbinding. She manages to perform a clever balancing act. Those actors play characters who are so likable and in the next scene unlikable. You’re totally with them. It’s an amazing journey to go on, so nuanced, in so many moments, they hit so hard in the smallest ways.
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 10 January, 2020 | Now: 3 February, 2020