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Venezia76: Marriage Story ★★★★★

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Director: Noah Baumbach

Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern

Released: Venice Film Festival 2019

Divorce is a universal experience, while some marriages are strong, some crumble and lives are changed forever. Noah Baumbach revisits the subject after his bittersweet 2005 release The Squid and the Whale but this time we witness divorce through the eyes of the parents. Marriage Story follows the story of stage director Charlie (Adam Driver) and his actor wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) as they struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

Marriage Story unleashes a flood of memories for anyone who has been through or has witnessed the pain of divorce. Noah Baumbach provides a hard-hitting and natural flowing screenplay. His story is raw and re-opens old wounds. Words can never be taken back during the confrontation but improving your character can change the dynamic. Marriage Story isn’t entirely a painful glass-case of emotion, Baumbach slowly takes the knife inside your heart and unleashes small fragments of joy for his protagonists. These moments are to be treasured as they are scattered throughout our story.

Time is Baumbach’s ally, dividing the tale through vignettes, each one demonstrating a change in the pairs personas. Once a loving couple, the time apart shows the scale of their separation, yet their memories and son keep Nicole and Charlie intertwined. Marriage Story erupts once Charlie & Nicole try to discuss their situation. Your heart will be in your mouth and your chin will hit the floor. Baumbach choreographed the scene meticulously from each cut to each syllable used. Johansson and Driver demonstrate here why they are two of the best working actors in the business today. Pure emotions can be felt in this scene of real anger and frustration, the authentic nature of this scene alone is painful to watch.

Marriage Story would be nothing but a Hallmark Channel movie without Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. They deliver career-best performances that will surely provide them with awards recognition this season. Their separation is their salvation and they bounce off each other, some moments are truly sweet and humbling while in the next instance we could be in the face-off to end all face-offs! Laura Dern provides the much-needed comedic element to Marriage Story as Natalie’s attorney. Her scenes steal the show from our two leads is a fine balance in and maybe more recognition may be on the way.

The foundations of love are shattered in Marriage Story while Baumbach breaks your soul and rebuilds it again. Netflix is going to take Baumbach’s masterpiece to the top of the mountain. Be prepared to hear about this movie over the next six months and seek it out when it hits cinemas and Netflix this December. 

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