Flash Movie Review: Marriage Story

THE FIRST TIME I ENCOUNTERED SOMEONE affected by a divorce was a boy in 5th grade. He and his mother had recently moved to the neighborhood after her divorce. If someone had asked me if I noticed anything different because this boy’s parents were divorced, I would have said not one thing. His mother worked which was no different than many of the other mothers who had a job outside the home. I do not recall any time when this classmate could not attend a school function or activity due to a missing parent or affordability; he was like any other student. It was not until 7th grade before there was another student who had parents that were divorced. Now during this time there were kids in school who had one out of both parents who had to be away from home for extended periods of time, either for work or the military. There would be times when the parent remaining at home would get help from a family member or neighbor; but it was not like that would make any kind of difference. The only time where it would ever make a difference, if you even want to call it that, was when there was a gender specific event like a father/daughter dance or a field trip where parents were needed to chaperone. So, an uncle or older cousin would fill in for the dance and some relative would handle being a chaperone; it was easily workable.      HAVING HAD SUCH EXPERIENCES WHILE GROWING UP, made the realization there was another option couples employed when they no longer wanted to be together much more difficult for me to rationalize. In fact, even today when I hear someone say they are staying together for the kids’ sake, I have to cringe. In my experiences I have not once seen where that option does anyone any good. I knew a family where the parents were doing this and all it accomplished was their kids having to go into therapy to deal with the craziness, they wound up experiencing, during what was a toxic environment. One parent started using the kids to deliver messages to their spouse; besides, trying to sway the kids’ opinion about the other parent into negative thoughts. It was sad to see the manipulation that was taking place in that household. Even worse was when I heard through a second party that one parent told one of their children, they were the cause for the breakdown in their marriage. To me that was criminal to say to a child. Because of my experiences; I intently watched this comedic, dramatic romance to see what was happening with the couple’s marriage.      MARRIAGE REQUIRES AN ABILITY IN BEING able to give and take; it appeared Charlie and Nicole, played by Adam Driver (Star Wars franchise, The Dead Don’t Die) and Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit, Lost in Translation), thought they were good at it. With Laura Dern (Certain Women, J.T. Leroy) as Nora Fanshaw, Alan Alda (Bridge of Spies, The Four Seasons) as Bert Spitz and Julie Hagerty (A Master Builder, Airplane franchise) as Sandra; this film festival winner’s cast was brilliant. I enjoyed each actor and the words they spoke. The story may appear to have a theme that is common to many other films; however, this script came across fresh and new to me. Adam and Scarlett were so good that I thought their characters were actual, real people. The dialog was authentic which only added to the realness of the characters. If I have any criticism, I think some viewers might find the beginning of the story sedated. Like a marriage, it can take a little work to get into it; but once you are, it can turn into a valuable lesson.


3 ½ stars


About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on January 8, 2020, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. The acting was incredible but I didn’t like the ending…they really cared about each other and compromises could have been made…that was a partnership is all about.

  2. I thought this movie was superb. The acting performances were stellar. As you say, even though the dialogue was slightly heightened, there was such an authenticity to the characters and the way they spoke. I was thoroughly engaged with this movie from beginning to end and found myself caught up in the emotion of it all. I have watched so many movies lately where the screenwriting was lacking and would have benefited from further drafts so it was a joy to watch a movie with such a polished screenplay.

    • We are in total agreement; it was refreshing to listen to a polished script with real dialog. I am so happy you enjoyed this film that you may have seen today received Oscar nominations. Thank you for the comments.

      • The nominations are well deserved. I am irked, however, that The Lighthouse has been so overlooked. That was my favourite movie of last year (admittedly I did not see as many as you have).

      • I knew The Lighthouse would not make it due to the “edginess;” the academy would have a negative reaction.

        I have a couple more films to watch to cover myself with all the major nominations. Thanks

      • I have not seen a good few of them that have been nominated. As you know, I may well go and see ‘1917’ this weekend but otherwise I will just have to let other people do the comparative judging. The same movies seem to be nominated in multiple categories so that is probably why more challenging movies have been left out in the cold. I would like to see the Academy embrace more filmmakers who take risks and produce more challenging movies. Being entertained is great and definitely has merit but movies that make us think and that require more thought and analysis also have value. That diversity should be reflected in the nominations. Of course, diversity is an issue for the Academy in other ways too.

      • Everything you said in a nutshell is simply saying “think.” For many that is too hard; too hard to come up with original material that can entertain and enlighten, along with making us think. Thanks for the comments.

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