At times, the film is hard to watch and tears at the moviegoer's heartstrings. When the project was first announced, I was a bit concerned that Johansson and Driver were an odd choice to play the lead roles. Yet, their chemistry cannot be denied and it is hard to picture any other actors playing these roles after viewing the film. Baumbach clearly knows how to cast a film and this may be his best project to date. Definitely look out for the multiple Oscar nominations that this film will get. I'm not one to cry often during a film, but it was sure hard to hold back the tears during this one. The film has the best scene between two characters that I have seen in quite a while. Leaving out too much detail, there is a major climax in the film between the married couple, that builds more and more with intensity leading to a payoff that will leave the viewer heartbroken.
The film is subtle to create a realistic story, but the implications are nonetheless concerning. Randy Newman's (Toy Story, Meet the Parents) original soundtrack creates a nice background for the onscreen dialogue. The soundtrack has nice piano melodies that play off of the subtle environment and act as a more classical soundtrack.
Baumbach's script is so real. He is able to create slight comedy in a script riddled with wrenching emotion. He can take a cast of well-known actors without giving any of them a sense of entitlement. This film is NOT a blockbuster, but has the intensity of one. As one of the best films of the year, I am quite excited to see how it will perform at the awards ceremonies. Baumbach is no stranger to nominations, but this year has a very bloated field of great films so it will be tough to pick which actors and films will win it all.
The Bottom Line: Marriage Story is subtle, but heartbreaking nonetheless with a professional cast that carries the film to the next level.