Baumbach, presenting Charlie’s perspective as a New York resident with a theatre company and a major production in the works, and his claim that Nicole, too, is a New York resident, doesn’t stint on the practical inconveniences of legal procedures to make such a case—the high cost of a lawyer (Charlie consults one who requires a twenty-five-thousand-dollar retainer), the sheer inconvenience of the related travel, and the stress of the contention (including the fear of being spied on by a private detective).Charlie’s empathetic, humane lawyer, Bert (Alan Alda), explains the legal system of divorce to Charlie—it’s designed, he says, to protect poor and abused women from deadbeat husbands. The system also weaponizes that story, turning it into an instrument of power. The film follows a married couple, an actress and a stage director (Johansson and Driver), going through a coast-to-coast divorce.
For Nicole and Charlie, this is one of the worst ordeals of their lives, but for Nora (and for Charlie's lawyers, played by Alan Alda and Ray Liotta) it's just another day on the job.Throughout, Baumbach treats the main characters with care and compassion, acknowledging the fear, frustration, and love behind them. But these people aren't getting married, they're splitting up. She is marking the separation by relocating to Los Angeles, her home town, for a role in a TV pilot. When Nora tells Nicole that the point of their meeting is to state plainly what she herself wants, Nicole’s frustrations come out along with her reminiscences. It’s simultaneously a tribute to her untapped abilities and an accusation levied against Charlie for not acknowledging or fostering them, but it also lets the character behind the scenes—the director, Noah Baumbach, who in real life went through a divorce from a major actress—off the hook. But when the mediator (Robert Smigel) asks them to begin, Nicole puts a stop to the process by refusing to read her piece or to hear Charlie read his. "The system rewards bad behavior," chirps Nicole's lawyer (Laura Dern) about a particularly aggressive maneuver. And the funny parts can be as cutting as the serious ones. It's the language of long-term love, distilled down to a few spare sentences. Read our review. Avoiding spoilers: in the course of legal hearings, Nicole has the sense that her point of view, in Nora’s reshaping of it, is finally being heard by Charlie.
Carol also offers her the name of a good divorce lawyer, Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern), unaware that Nicole and Charlie had promised each other not to hire counsel.But Nicole does consult with Nora, and from the time of their first meeting Nora more or less dominates the rest of the film with her lethal effectiveness and wide-ranging insight. He thought it was sweet. Baumbach presents the elusive nature of love, the ineffable spark at its core and the realm of practicalities by which it’s defined and realized. The show’s producer, Carol (Sarah Jones), invites Nicole to join the writers’ room, but she responds that she’d rather direct. Theatre is one such structure; family is another; and the law turns out to be another such structure, and a critical one, which—for all its inconveniences, absurdities, distortions, and pressures—offers a crucial spark and form for life-changing emotional revelations and recognitions.That’s why, when the couple’s pent-up passions emerge in a scene of unstructured, unmediated personal confrontation, what is revealed is a horror, one that, in its monstrosity, shows, once and for all, exactly why the marriage has ended. Driver is even better as Charlie, using his physicality to convey his character's enormous will and ambition. Yet that intricate texture is also both fragile and diaphanous, revealing in action the frameworks that give it definition. Powered by its own proprietary technology, Mashable is the go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for its dedicated and influential audience around the globe. 'Marriage Story' stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple in the midst of an ugly divorce. Nicole’s refusal suggests the fragility of her state of mind—the risk that, in reaffirming the couple’s frayed bond, she’ll lose the power to sever it. Nicole and Charlie wrote them at the recommendation of a separation mediator, in order to read them aloud at a session in his office. He displays the vanities and uncertainties, the kindnesses and the missteps that evoke the sense of full and complex lives. Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’ is an exploration of love and how people deal with moving on when a relationship ends. It’s almost as an afterthought that Nicole mentions that Charlie had an affair with a co-worker, a stage manager named Mary Ann (Brooke Bloom).Nora’s sugar-sparkled mien reflects her clear and combative sense of what women are up against. She's trying to reassure Nicole that they're doing the right thing, but she's unable to completely conceal the note of glee in her voice. One key subplot involves Charlie’s clumsy effort to put on a show of fit parenthood for one such expert (played by Martha Kelly), and Nora’s effort to tailor Nicole’s personal narrative to satisfy the same expert.
All that's left to do now is go their separate ways, which is easier said than done when the center of their lives is their son, Henry (Azhy Robertson). Nora and the legal system enable Nicole to tell her story seemingly for the first time. She felt that her desires, her interests, and her personality had become subordinated to his, effaced by him—even as he was putting scenes from their marriage and remarks that she made into his plays. (Movies are only in the deep background.) She deploys her legal skills to win for her female clients in court a measure of the equality and the fairness that they’ve been denied in the more amorphous (and less supervised) settings of work and family.
Her view of him, of her life with him, of their marriage, is hitting home, wounding his pride, shattering his self-image, bursting his own veneer of amicability, and tapping into his own repressed torrent of frustrations.