Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern,Alan Alda, Ray Liotta and more.
The cinemas may be shut, but there are plenty of marvellous movies available to enjoy at home. Step forward the acclaimed ‘Marriage Story’, available to watch on Netflix.
This is definitely what you would describe as ‘an actors’ film’. And not just because it focuses on the divorce between an actress portrayed by Scarlett Johansson and a theatre director played by Adam Driver. It is packed with powerful and meaning-filled monologues that really allow the whole cast to demonstrate that they are at the top of their craft, totally inhibiting their multi-faceted characters. The film opens with the separating couple at the centre of the story describing each other in extensive detail, the script giving so much for each lead to work with, and through the course of the film you do indeed see their characters’ qualities, both good and bad, in action. By the end you feel like you understand these two people completely, why they married each other and why the marriage fell apart.
And it is not just the two leads who are given the space and words to show off their acting chops. Laura Dern nearly steals every scene she is in as Johannson’s divorce lawyer, especially her impassioned speech on the unfair societal expectations imposed on mothers. There is a reason why she took home an awards haul for this performance.
But I feel every single cast member and certainly writer, director and producer Noah Baumbach deserved accolades for this film which is at times tragic, at times hilarious, but mostly tragic and hilarious at once in equal measure. It certainly illustrates the real complexity of a marriage breakdown, or as Johansson’s character perfectly sums it up in one line: ‘It’s not as simple as not being in love any more.’
By Judith Hawkins