From left to right. Scarlett Johansson, Azhy Robertson and Adam Driver star in Marriage Story (Netflix 2019)

Marriage Story – The complexities of family breakdown

Marriage Story is available to stream on Netflix now.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Arriving 40 years after Robert Benton’s Oscar-winning Kramer vs Kramer, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story may follow in the award-winning footsteps of its predecessor due to the masterful performances of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Charlie (Driver) and Nicole (Johansson) live in New York with their young 8-year-old son Henry (Azhy Robertson). Charlie is a talented theatre director, while Nicole works as an actor within Charlie’s theatre company. For both Charlie and Nicole, their lives are encircled by individual creativity, artistic growth and the needs of their young son. However, as the couple slowly separates through poor communication and stifled opportunities for change, Nicole accepts an acting job in LA, taking Henry with her.

As Nicole forges a new life, divorce seems the logical conclusion, with both parties intent on the need to maintain a positive relationship. However, the harsh reality of the divorce process rears its head, and life, love and parental duty are caught in the waves.


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In 2013, writer/director Noah Baumbach divorced actor Jennifer Jason Leigh, and it’s more than possible Marriage Story reflects the turmoil of this experience. Of course, we will never fully know unless Jason Leigh presents her own experience. However, the screenplay sometimes feels slanted towards Charlie, which may be due to Baumbach’s experience. But despite this, the emotional turmoil of the child sits centre stage in Marriage Story. Here Johansson and Driver embrace the complexity of ensuring a child remains attached to both parents while never shying away from the brutality of the legal system. The result is a character-driven drama that soars in its ability to reflect the sadness of family breakdown and the hope of a more stable future.


Director: Noah Baumbach

Cast: Scarlett JohanssonAdam DriverMerritt Wever, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, Alan Alda