A+E: Direct My Actions Not My Love

by Matthew Ruiz

When watching a romance movie, naturally they end in matrimony, but what about a movie that begins with a marriage ending?

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When watching Noah Baumbach’s New film “Marriage Story” Starring Scarlett Johansson as Nicole and Adam Driver as Charlie, it’s intense to see their marriage falling apart. It’s a tear jerker, frustrating, and funny film at times the plot jumps around and shows the audience the realism and heartbreaks of families going through a divorce. 

Nicole and Charlie are a very active couple who together have an eight year old child named Henry played by Azhy Robertson. They live in Brooklyn and both work in Charlie’s Film Theater. Nicole is a former Hollywood star, she’s very brave, competitive, infectious, and full of love. Charlie is a Director/Actor who’s a persistent man, self Sufficient, and a very good cook. As the film opens we see how each partner describes the other and we learn just who each of them are and what their internal feelings are before anything happens. 

What follows is rage and awkwardness between them. Happiness is a very inexpressible and a very special privilege to have within a family. When they split, they find a new look for themselves with Nicole finding her own path in going back to Los Angeles and doing her own acting there. Charlie on the other hand stays in Brooklyn, but he will soon be traveling back and forth from New York to Los Angeles. The aftermath shows the misery of getting a divorce, the Lawyers. Nicole and Charlie become pawns in a drama filled divorce case neither want to be in. 

Nicole goes with a very successful and well known LA Lawyer named “Nora”, who’s a published author and Lawyer. Charlie is stuck between two lawyers who want to crush Nicole and her lawyer in getting custody over Henry, while the other wants to go the safe route. If Charlie wants custody of Henry he needs to “Change the Narrative” and move the case to New York. 

The most irritating part of this movie is how both Nicole and Charlie are acting like dense and greedy children sometimes. With Nicole, she doesn’t want to tell Charlie the truth in terms of when things need to be done with the divorce papers, who is supposed to have Henry for special holidays, and ignores the fact that Charlie has a heart too, who just wants to spend time with his son. Yet Charlie acts like a child during their marriage. Charlie had an affair with the costume designer he works with, but the audience has to feel some sense of remorse or pity for the guy. 

He’s a hard working father that is trying to balance his family life, work, and divorce. The struggles he goes through and the position Nicole puts him in was hard to watch. Adam Driver did a phenomenal job of showing his emotions and bringing out the realization of being a single father, while also trying to direct a play on the other side of the country. Scarlett Johansson also did a good job acting like a mother but also acting like a “villain”. 

One of the most powerful and intense scenes in the movie is when Charlie and Nicole finally want to “talk” but what ends up happening they get into a really heated argument saying some threatening words and bringing up family members to compare to. The disconnection this family has is very well presented in this scene, and the hatred they both have for each other is incomprehensible. Charlie is in an emotional wreck and Nicole is already moved on and has found a new man. The case closed with Nicole winning and both parents have to share Henry every other weekend. This movie was very sad and depressing, and it was like a hard pill to swallow on how the reality of a hard marriage can be.

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