Neptune’s film picks
20 December 2019.
MARRIAGE STORY ****
This film will leave you dazed with its honesty, its raw emotions, its decency. It’s really about the trauma of divorce rather than about marriage. And yet it is also about evolving, modern love that maybe expects too much from its partners. For these two artists – director and actress – do love each other and their son, yet are tearing themselves apart. The film actually starts with the couple enumerating the reasons they love the other. Their marriage counsellor has requested that bit of information, saying they should at least remember why they fell in love.
This film by Noah Baumbach is impeccable – the rich, open acting of Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver; the sharp yet tender script by Baumbach (somewhat based on his own experiences); the feel of both New York and California; the bare truth of love unraveling and it’s deep, bewildering pain. More intimate than this you cannot get, yet it is never cheap or carnal. It is about a good relationship that is going bad between two people as they are being buffeted and stifled by lawyers, with ugly facts taken out of context.
This has been a bumper year for fine films, each better than the last, many of them Netflix productions like this one. But this little, private story may very well beat the others in the coming award season and rightfully take all the prizes – film, director, script, actors, the works. For it is completely human and real. A modern, more delicate “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?”. It is simply bouleversant, as the French say.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.