View your saved tickets

DCA Archive

Ciné Sunday: Marriage Story

Revisiting some of the themes that made his debut film The Squid and the Whale so resonant, writer-director Noah Baumbach explores the highs and lows of a relationship in breakdown with Marriage Story. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson deliver some of their richest work as a couple whose once enviable union crumbles under the weight of mounting resentments and divergent needs.

"Goes from Bergman-esque drama, to dark comedy, to surges of suspense..."

Charlie (Driver) is a playwright who wants to stay in New York. Nicole (Johansson) is an actor who's landed a coveted television role that requires her to relocate to Los Angeles. Their geographical dispute tests an already strained relationship. As Marriage Story begins, the couple's divorce is already underway, with each side’s legal counsel deploying opposing tactics. Yet Baumbach's elegant narrative goes back and forth through time, showing how Charlie and Nicole fell in love and built a life together alongside a detailed, blow-by-blow chronicle of their marital dismantling.

Baumbach's wise script goes from Bergman-esque drama, to dark comedy, to surges of suspense, and is complemented by the intimate 35mm camera work of Robbie Ryan and by the precise, lived-in performances not only of Driver and Johansson, but also of Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta. Marriage Story may have an ironic title, but its divorce proceedings double as a moving post-mortem. Sometimes our most profound life choices begin to cohere only in retrospect.