This new Netflix feature film of Director Noah Baumbach is something that looks in the face of the quietened agony of not being heard enough. Nicole and Charlie are a couple who rely on each other in their marriage to keep things steady at home and at work. Charlie is a theater director and Nicole is a theater artist in Charlie’s crew. They are a couple of aspiring people who wants to break big and accomplish their dream in show business.
Overtime, they lose the strength to love each other anymore as their relationship is strained due to lack of communicating their emotions. Just as in any strained relationship, they stop expressing themselves to each other. It mounts the disappointments of not working things out and make their dying love renounced. Their efforts to listen to each other, with a mediator, are not succeeded. They spend their days pining away.
Nicole and Charlie know each other better. She knows what food Charlie wants to order from a menu when he himself doesn’t know it. But still She belittles herself and thinks that Charlie always knows what he wants in life whereas she couldn’t tell for herself. Charlie finds himself at a crossroad where he needs to compete with Nicole to gain the love of, their 8 years old son, Henry.
Charlie furrows his days around Nicole’s messiness. He finds it cute and attractive. He loves her wholeheartedly. But he doesn’t make the effort to listen to her to know what bothers her. He doesn’t recognize her unhappiness until she utters it as it is. He finds her reasons, to want to have a separate life, unconvincing as he thinks their life is good as it is.
Nicole doesn’t feel alive in this marriage as her dreams and desires are not heard upon. She feels that she is made to adopt a life that doesn’t belong to her. When Charlie goes on and act on his dreams, Nicole feels unrecognized and left out. The couple endures a bitter separation where the lawyers and judicial system meddle in their way to make it bitter. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, who are the couple in this strained marriage, look arresting.
Adam as Charlie strikes with a lashing performance when he breaks down in an argument with Nicole, when he sings Being Alive and when he trembles while reading Nicole’s note. Scarlett fills Nicole’s shoes effortlessly. She captures her aches and dejection in a way that leaves us with a scar. We root for her to find herself, to find her happiness without being burdened by the life she leads. Marriage Story is a remarkable emotional drama that emphasis on the importance of being heard and being listened to in a relationship. It’s a portrait of despondency that leaves us only with a tinge of sadness as it projects hope over despair.