This is the surprise film of the end of year. And it’s a movie that, sadly,we didn’t get to see on the big screen. Just like Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman before it, Netflix, once again, produces and finances a movie that, not only is better than most commercial releases we get nowadays, but it’s also a movie deserving of critical and award winning praise.
Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, it concerns the struggles of a couple in the process of getting divorced, how that affects, not only their work and family life, but most importantly, their respective relationship with their only child.
Right up until quite recently, the couple lived and worked together in New York. Nicole is a former TV and Cinema actress, who now works for a small independent Theatre company run by her husband Charlie, an up and coming New York Theater director, who for years has struggled to make a name for himself and his small production company in the New York scene. One day, she decides that she’s been living under his shadow for too long, and decides to get back to LA, where she used to live, to re-connect with her family, and strike out on her own. A recent love affair of Charlie with one of his stage hands, doesn’t help matter either. So, she goes back to LA with their son, and starts working on a TV show, hires a divorce lawyer, and starts the increasingly painful, and arduous journey of legal separation. Along the way, some very uncomfortable truths will come to light.
The movie is mostly about the failure of non-dialogue. Not being able to resolve their marital problems without resorting to the use of lawyers, and being unable, and unwilling, to hear each other out. With two top-notch performances by both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, we witness the slow disintegration of their once happy relationship, that culminates in one of the most heartbreaking marital arguments ever seen on-screen. It’s a powerfully performed, and emotionally charged scene, that allows it’s two protagonists to go to the deepest and darkest places of their characters’ inner beings. It makes for very uncomfortable viewing. It is a movie that will not leave you indifferent and, as with all married couples, I imagine, will make them relive, and remember, some very uncomfortable truths about the marriage institution. A must see.
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