‘Marriage Story’ (2019) – A heartbreakingly beautiful examination of marital dissolution

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In perfect alignment with its title, “” is a brutally honest, heartrending yet blanched dissection of a married couple's divorce. The brilliance of 's direction coupled with the raw and potent performances by and make it a film you would not want to miss.

The narrative revolves around a -based couple, Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver). Nicole is a former teen film actress, now a critically acclaimed theatre performer, while Charlie is an avant-garde theatre director. The film opens with an unabashed pour of love, as they describe their admiration for each other; however, the rug is swiftly pulled from under our feet when we realize that they are in a mediator's office undergoing separation.

Johansson delivers a profound performance, striking the perfect balance between vulnerability and strength. As Nicole, she navigates through layers of emotions, including pain, loss, and exhaustion, all while grappling with the challenge of moving on. This performance is undoubtedly one of her finest to date.

On the other hand, Adam Driver commands attention with an equally powerful portrayal of Charlie, eliciting empathy even in moments when he shouldn't. His extraordinary control over his character's emotional switches, from defensive anger to devasting sorrow, is commendable. The raw intensity that Driver brings is perfectly caught in one of the film's most intense scenes – a gut-wrenching argument filled with shouts, tears, and apologies – showcasing his dramatic range and keeping the audience hooked to the screen.

Baumbach's genius lies in his ability to analyze the minutiae of a relationship and study its slow decay right down to the microscopic level. Presenting a palpable balance between sentimentality and bitterness, he refrains from choosing sides, giving a touch of realism to the narrative. Cherry-picked moments from their life together, dropped among scenes of legal battles, provide glimpses into what was before – creating a lingering nostalgia for a relationship that was beautiful, loving, yet flawed.

The presence of as the razor-sharp attorney, Nora, adds another level of dynamism. The way she unsteels Nicole's hesitations and tends to her broken trust is assertive, yet calming. As Nora, Dern shines, delivering a monologue about gender and motherhood that stands out as one of the movie's memorable moments.

The cinematography of “Marriage Story” also deserves mention. 's camera lingers, allowing us to witness the characters' each grimace and tear. His empathetic lens brings out the essence of Baumbach's profound storytelling.

The genuine strength of the film lies in its realistic portrayal of the dissolution of marriage – the painful extraction of two lives intertwined, the battle of egos on who gets to keep ‘their song,' the conversations that turn into cross examinations, the unending loop of ‘he said, she said,' seasoned with unsolicited advice from outsiders. It magnifies the fault lines, the miscommunications, and unfulfilled expectations that often pave the path to divorce.

Despite its divorce backdrop, “Marriage Story” is ironically a tale about love – love that continues to linger, becoming an uninvited guest to their separate lives. Baumbach's “Marriage Story” remains sensitive to the couple's arc, never entirely invalidating their love story, which makes the ending even more poignant.

The message of ”Marriage Story” is beautifully sandwiched within an array of emotions – it's about knowing when to fight, when to surrender, and most importantly, when to let go. Offering a heart-wrenchingly beautiful examination of marital dissolution, this film will make you laugh, cry, and contemplate.

“Marriage Story” is a must-watch, exposing the raw and intricate process of love disentangling itself from the clutches of a strained marriage. It's a film that makes you yearn for reconciliation even when logic heavily suggests otherwise – a testament to Johansson's, Driver's, and Baumbach's collective virtuosity.

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