Grackles review Marriage Story

Directed by Noah Baumbach 

Reviewed by Charlie Riccardelli and Rebecca Bernard

In 2005, writer/director Noah Baumbach cemented his place as a chronicler of raw dramedies with his searing The Squid and the Whale. A marked changed of pace from his earlier indie films, The Squid and the Whale was his semi-autobiographical story growing up as the child of two strong-willed parents who are going through a volatile divorce. Fourteen years later, Baumbach’s own divorce (he had previously been married to actress Jennifer Jason Leigh) serves as the inspiration for Marriage Story, a different kind of divorce drama centering on the arduous process of dissolving a marriage.

As the film starts, Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) are already in the process of divorcing. For the better part of a decade, they’ve been a collaborative couple in New York theatre (he a director, she an actress). Now, she plans to relocate to California to reignite her Hollywood career and pursue her unrealized ambitions. Neither seem prepared for the seismic shift divorce will bring until Nicole opts to seek legal council instead of self-mediating. Charlie, in denial of the seriousness of what’s happening, soon finds himself in an expensive cross-country custody battle for their son.

Charlie Riccardelli: I don’t know about you, Rebecca, but sometimes when watching Marriage Story I wanted to cover my eyes like I was watching a horror film. Even if the viewer has no experience with divorce, they’ve probably witnessed or lived through a messy breakup, and this film hits at a lot of the rawer elements of what mig