Baumbach’s Marriage Story had the film festival audiences compelled before it dropped in the movie theatres and Netflix. The response of the general audience has been equally positive, Baumbach’s diligently written screenplay and picture as a whole are expected to score a number of Oscars, along with Johansson (as Nicole) and Driver’s (as Charlie) performances.
The story is about a talented couple who decides to go through a divorce. How does divorce make such compelling screenplay? It seems to happen instantly when the audience realizes that Charlie wants to continue living in New York for his theatre company, and Nicole desires to relaunch her once-alive Hollywood career in Los Angeles. The film is about existing together as a couple and having the freedom to occupy individual spaces. It is about sharing a living and having a special space that is your own.
As the theme settles into the film heavily when Nicole moves to Los Angeles with their son, Baumbach builds his climax on this new life by channeling how this move affects Charlie. The couple initially to agree to go through a divorce without lawyers, in the hopes that they will remain friends. However, the affair of Charlie likely changes the direction of the events; as a result, lawyers are involved and things get nasty. Initially, the blocks are meant to sit in an unusual way, representing a happy divorce. As the events shift, the audience sees the blocks fitting just right. In a particular scene, Charlie tells Nicole he wishes she was dead, reflecting both love and hate at the same time and revealing the beautiful toxicity of the relationship as Nicole hugs him.
The blocks (or events) lead both characters to arrive at the climax of the movie—Driver’s solo performance of “Being Alive” from the Company Musical. Baumbach jokingly states in an interview, “the whole movie is just me reverse engineering Being Alive”, and it does not seem untrue giving the fact that it indicates such a powerful moment in the film. The whole movie is set up to defend the importance of existing as an individual, being alive to fulfill individual dreams. In Charlie and Nicole’s relationship, the audience sees the love in the middle of unfulfilled dreams. When Charlie finally sings Being Alive, it seems too late to recover the events they both go through. However, the song is his confession that Nicole was his way of being alive, and his sacrifices were worth it and his dreams did not compare.
As you can see, Marriage Story is filled with dual portraits that tell the story of a divorce from differing perspectives in an equal manner. Marriage Story is a love story, a story about “feeding his aliveness” and finding a way for “being alive”, again. Marriage Story already collected Gotham Awards for Best Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Adam Driver), and the Audience Award. And, yes, it deserves every Oscar it may be nominated.