4 stars

Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” is the rare movie that almost every single person who watches it can relate to, which is why it was the perfect ‘Netflix-to-award-show’ movie that came out this season.

The film follows Nicole Barber (Scarlett Johansson) and her husband Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) as they go through a divorce that spans coast to coast. Charlie, a successful theater director in New York, has to travel to Los Angeles, where Nicole has started her new life as a television actor after being his star for the majority of their relationship. The story also incorporates what it’s like to be a child of divorce.

Not enough good things can be said about “Marriage Story.” From how it’s a film that can stir emotions from the last time you and your significant other fought, to the way Johansson and Driver work together to form undeniable chemistry on screen, to writer and director Baumbach’s way of showing that once you love someone you never truly stop loving them, but the love changes. The film is a love story through the lens of divorce, something I had never seen done before.

In addition to the unique story, this movie is more re-watchable than any other. This movie is chalk full of clips that will get passed around social media and scenes that are hard to forget. The climax of the movie was one of the few that I had to rewatch multiple times to get the nuances fully, which works thanks to it being on Netflix.

This was the perfect film for Netflix (unlike Irishman, which feels like it should have been on AMC in five years). It was bite size, it was a film you could share with your friends, parents or spouse and it had a good lesson that I think anyone young or old could get.

While I didn’t think this was Johansson’s best film (her portal in “Jojo Rabbit” edges it out), it was arguably her most successful role to date and a palate cleanser from her roles in superhero films. The same goes for Driver, who is coming off one of the biggest franchises in history. Both actors deservingly got Best Actor/Actress nominations for their roles.

With nine films being nominated for Best Picture and only five for Best Director, it’s a real shame that Baumbach wasn’t able to get a nomination. The same goes for his longtime girlfriend Greta Gerwig (who directed “Little Women”), Taika Waititi (who directed “Jojo Rabbit”) and James Mangold (who directed “Ford vs. Ferrari”). It’s difficult to sometimes distinguish between the best film and the film I enjoyed the most. However, all the directors who weren’t nominated made films that I personally enjoyed more than their “Best Director” counterparts.


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