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Marriage Story (2019)

Updated on June 20, 2020

Marriage Story (2019) review

This was kind of a boring movie for me, to be honest. I watched it hoping for more of a coming-of-age story, but I was disappointed. It was just a movie about a couple going through a divorce. The acting was great and there were a few redeeming moments, but overall it just wasn’t my cup of tea. It felt very true to real life, but sometimes a movie needs to be more than that. This felt like a movie more directed at couples going through a divorce and dealing with custody over their children. That is definitely not me.

Marriage Story (2019) was written and directed by Noah Baumbach. It stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Charlie (Driver) and Nicole (Johansson) Barber are a married couple with a son who all live together in New York. At the start of the film it is clear that their marriage is ending and they are at the start of the divorce process. They decide to proceed without getting lawyers involved, but things change when Nicole is persuaded to contact a lawyer and things start going less amicably. They have to decide where they are going to live their lives and how they deal with the custody of their son, and things get ugly.

The movie just didn’t have enough story to keep my interest. It was entertaining but not interesting. The actors did a great job in their roles, and Johansson was gorgeous as usual, but the movie didn’t seem to go anywhere. There was just no substance. It almost felt like a TV movie of the week to me, but with A-list actors. The best part of the movie for me was seeing Ray Liotta and Laura Dern battle each other in a courtroom as dueling lawyers. Even as a romance movie, it didn’t work. I would have liked this movie a lot more if they had gone that direction and had a happier ending.

I would recommend this movie to middle aged divorcees; that’s about it.

Cast trivia

  • This is Adam Driver's 4th collaboration with Noah Baumbach.
  • Laura Dern's character is loosely based on L.A. celebrity attorney Laura Wasser who represented Dern, Scarlett Johansson and Noah Baumbach during their respective divorces. Mediation scenes were filmed in Wasser's real office building.
  • Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern were cast before the script was complete. The cast collaborated with Baumbach on certain character aspects.
  • It was Adam Diver's idea for his character Charlie to be a theatre director.
  • When Baumbach approached Johansson to join the film, unbeknownst to him she was going through her second divorce.
  • Julie Hagerty plays Johansson's mother in the film and also played the mother of Ryan Reyolds' character in the 2005 film Just Friends. Reynolds is Johansson's first ex husband.
  • This is Noah Baumbach's tenth feature film as writer/director.
  • Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver have both appeared in Disney film franchises.
  • The cast includes one Oscar winner (Laura Dern) and three Oscar nominees (Alan Alda, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson).

Production trivia

  • Marriage Story (2019) had a 18.6 million dollar budget and made 333,686 in the box office during its 30 day theatrical run.
  • This film was distributed by Netflix.
  • Laura Dern won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in this film.
  • This film was shot in California and New York.
  • No dialogue or moments of hesitation are improvised in the fight scene in Charlie's apartment. Everything was scripted.
  • Netflix reopened the Paris Theatre in New York to play this movie exclusively.
  • The story was based in large part on Noah Baumbach's own experiences when he divorced Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2013.
  • Adam Driver had to punch a wall 15 times due to multiple takes. At one point, he punched so hard he almost punched through the wall behind the breakaway wall.
  • This film was shot in only 47 days.
  • Marriage Story had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
  • Baumbach filmed 76 takes if the final scene in the film.


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