Marriage Story is a star-studded film about love, family and divorce that’s being tipped for Oscar glory.
As everything around us takes on a saccharine Christmas hue (think films, TV and music that all feature at least a hint of tinsel), Marriage Story is the palate cleanser we need – and one of the best films you’ll see this year. A Netflix production, it hit cinemas in November, but is now available to stream.
It’s a tale of divorce that offers hope
Filmmaker Noah Baumbach (partner to Greta Gerwig) was inspired by his own separation from actor Jennifer Jason Leigh when writing the script. But the film, following director Charlie (Adam Driver) and actor Nicole (Johansson) as they navigate their separate futures is fresher, funnier and more about love than you’d expect.
That doesn’t mean you won’t cry. You will. Buckets. But Marriage Story is that rare thing: a divorce movie with a happy ending.
Scarlett Johansson is mesmerising
After a decade spent fighting in the Marvel universe, this film is a reminder of just how good an actor Johansson is. Her Nicole is instantly relatable, a woman full of frustrations at her ex-husband’s inability to comprehend how stifled she feels by their relationship. Johansson was in the middle of her own divorce when she took the role. “There’s so much of all of us in this film that’s out there for everyone to see,” she said.
There’s a stacked supporting cast
You want star power? How about Dern as Nicole’s glossy Los Angeles lawyer, with big Renata Klein energy. And Unbelievable fans will love seeing star Merritt Wever pop up as Cassie, Nicole’s frazzled sister. She has a whole gag about divorce papers and a pie that’s sillier than anything we’ve seen on screen this year.
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The Oscars will be all over it
The reviews for Marriage Story have been unanimous: give it all the Oscars. Not just for the pitch-perfect performances, but for Baumbach’s script, which is full of keen observations about separation – like the fact that your ex-mother-in-law will replace all the pictures of you in her hallway, and it will hurt.
There are two musical numbers
Is this film secretly a musical? Because there are a few all-singing, all-dancing moments.
The one everyone can’t stop tweeting about happens out of the blue when Charlie launches into a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Being Alive, proving Driver – and his lovely baritone – really can do anything.
Marriage Story is streaming on Netflix from 6 December.
Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.
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