In the first scene of “Marriage Story,” the two main characters, Charlie and Nicole, read lists of what they love about each other. I thought to myself, “I hope I can someday have a love that true and strong.” But it is soon revealed these lists were written at the request of their mediator, who would be counseling them during their separation and eventual divorce.
Unlike many other dramas, this love story about divorce knows how to add comedic relief without it feeling forced or inappropriately-timed. The deadpan humor of the “expert evaluator” (Martha Kelly) who visits the home of Charlie and Nicole (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) had the whole audience in laughter.
Nicole’s lawyer (Laura Dern) was an especially hilarious character. During one much-needed comedic monologue, she makes a convincing case as to why Mary deserved full parental custody of Jesus and how God was an absentee father and husband, yet receives all the credit anyway. I laughed and internally cried in support with her.
I don’t know that I could handle the reality and poignancy of this movie if it hadn’t been for the perfectly-timed humor sprinkled into this film. It was ultimately about two people who both love their son so much and know that they will always love each other, too, which is what causes them so much grief and turmoil.
This movie has great acting and thoughtful, intricate details that make it all too real. For example, right after a giant screaming match where Charlie and Nicole basically destroy each other’s wills to live, Charlie breaks down sobbing and Nicole immediately starts rubbing his back — a gesture of comfort that only someone who has known that person for a very long time would know to express.
“Marriage Story” shows the reality of divorce and conflict in general. It’s never black and white. I hated both of the main characters at times, but also loved them and could completely understand each of their perspectives.
Basically, after watching this movie I can now say with certainty that life ruins everything good, emotions are awful, and I never want to get married.
Get your tissues ready because “Marriage Story” will be available on Netflix Dec. 6.