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Marriage Story Criterion Blu-ray Review

Marriage

“Marriage Story” is Noah Baumbach’s best film.

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story” is indeed about a marriage, but not a happy one. The story revolves around married couple/parents Charlie (a NY theater director) and Nicole (an actress) who undergo a messy and dehumanizing divorce made complicated by lawyers, Nicole moving from NY to LA with their son Henry, and Charlie trying to keep his stage show afloat in NY while also visiting LA to see his son and try not to lose custody of him to Nicole. Charlie and Nicole also essentially become pitted against one another throughout all of this to make matters even worse.

When it comes to the work of Noah Baumbach, I can’t say I am overly fond of many of his credits as they either come across as hipster indie dramas or stories that never connected with me personally. With “Marriage Story,” however, Baumbach has crafted a film filled with human drama that certainly makes an impact. 

For many viewers(especially those who have been through a divorce), this film about divorce, a split family, the complexities of marriage and a lack of communication is painful to watch, but it’s not so painful that you don’t want to keep watching. In fact, you will likely be compelled to keep watching just to see how it all plays out. Aside from the tour de force acting (which I will get to shortly), what makes Baumbach’s film so engaging is that it doesn’t take sides. You understand everyone’s sides, you see that the lawyers are doing their jobs, and you see that the couple has made mistakes. Due to this honest approach, the story is even more emotional than it already is because it feels so grounded, intimate and dare I say real.

As I mentioned above, the acting is nothing short of incredible. It’s no surprise that Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern all received Oscar nominations for their work. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I will say it again, but Driver continues to solidify himself as one of the best actors around. He has a range that you rarely see anymore. Johansson has long been one of the best actresses around and she is at her best here with a very raw and vulnerable performance. Laura Dern shines as Nicole’s tough and cheery lawyer Nora as does Alan Alda as Charlie’s second lawyer Bert.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.66:1 1080p. How does it look? The 4K digital transfer provides a nice clean print of the film.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 5.1 track does the job. 

Extras:
* A booklet featuring credits, photos, and a book intro by Linn Ullmann and two replica letters by Charlie and Nicole from the film.
* Nicole and Charlie trailers
* An interview with composer Randy Newman. Behind-the-scenes footage and comments from Noah Baumbach are also included.
* “Making A Scene With Noah Baumbach”- Baumbach talks about Charlie’s apartment location, the scenes that were shot there, and the character moments within it.
* A newly recorded 20 minute interview with Noah Baumbach who talks about his work, his ideas for “Marriage Story,” etc.
* “The Players”- Interviews with Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty and Ray Liotta over still images.
* “The Filmmakers”- Interviews with Noah Baumbach, producer David heyman, editor Jennifer Lame, production designer Jade Healy and costume designer Mark Bridges about their respective work.
* “The Making Of Marriage Story”- 97 minutes of video journals from the set that provides real insight into behind-the-scenes life. Film clips are also included.

July 8, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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