Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach [7/10]

Mix up rom-com and modern tragedy as related with the intelligence and wit of Noah Baumbach and you get “Marriage Story,” which is an absorbing take on divorce’s many complications. Adam Driver (he’s everywhere at the moment) does a star turn as an earnest, smart but perhaps overly earnest theatrical producer. The movie opens with the cracking up of his marriage to a similarly earnest and modern and easy-going actress, played with immersive fervor by Scarlet Johansson. Crack, that’s the sound apparent when the actress moves from New York to Los Angeles and, almost unwittingly, hires a shit-hot divorce lawyer (Laura Dern is pitch perfect), setting in place a deteriorating spiral of negotiations and discussions and arguments (one of which is the turbulent heart of the entire film). Baumbach has penned a super tight script and he retains a firm directorial grip. “Marriage Story” is occasionally funny, always smart, increasingly troubling, and, in the end (as it must be) gently redemptive. This is not a classic but comes recommended as a great example of 2020s theatrical-drama style film.

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