Scar Jo (that’s meant affectionately) will soon be suiting up as Black Widow again, this time for an origin tale.
Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow in Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow”–the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour as Alexei aka The Red Guardian and Rachel Weisz as Melina. Directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige
More and more quality Netflix Original movies are being released. This year I now have three in my top 10 films of 2019, so apparently their strategy of throwing billions into producing great original content is working.
So, on Friday 12/6/2019 another good, recommended movie became available for streaming …
If you haven’t seen it yet, then bookmark this post and come back because we’re about to venture into SPOILER territory ….
…. you’ve been warned SPOILERS ahead ..
While I knocked off a star, my criticisms are very minimal in this film. I felt a few scenes were too long and there was some repetition between scenes. A little bit more tightening and this could have been 4.5 or 5 stars. It felt like it should have been, content-wise 90 minutes and yet it was 136 minutes. Netflix is clearly not as imposing as the Hollywood studios when it comes run time.
Or maybe this is just the new way of doing movies. Go ahead and just have these long scenes, even if each scene isn’t presenting any new information or providing any new character info. Most of the scenes do give us new information, but there are other scenes that could have been shortened (the whole two separate Halloween trick or treating, for example).
Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta all have great supporting roles as divorce attorneys. Scarlett Johansson has minimal makeup and looks throughout this film like she’s in a perpetual state of tears. Her eyes are often red, she looks down a lot and you can just feel her pain visually. Brilliant.
One of the most emotionally charged scenes I’ve seen in any 2019 movie comes from a fight between Adam Driver’s character Charlie and his wife, Nicole played by Scar Jo. The director, Noah Bombach, describes how the scene was constructed over two days:
“They’ve lost their voices; they’ve lost a sense of who they are,” the filmmaker says of this pivotal point. “They’re trying to figure out what they believe anymore. And that’s a dangerous place, I think, for a couple to find themselves.” Charlie and Nicole rediscover their own voices — and perspectives — in this painstakingly choreographed sequence, which was shot over two days. It’s a cruel, relentless duet of a scene — but ultimately offers relief. “It was the most difficult scene I’ve ever shot in a movie,” Baumbach tells EW. “But also the most rewarding.”
The scene in question is visceral. It’s the horror equivalent emotionally of a gross out scene that you can’t get over. Absolutely brilliant.
Both interviews of Scar Jo and Adam Driver have them sharing their feelings about their complex characters.
These are the roles that actors and actresses dream of having.
Reviews by Others
Let’s see, so far, what other moviegoers think of Marriage Story.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I enjoy following movie-related blogs. Yes, even those who disagree with my reviews and vice versa.
ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES / Jay: “…is an insightful and well-aimed gut punch. It hit me right in the feels. But even Sean, who comes from a cozy nuclear family and is married to the most amazing woman on earth, even Sean was stirred up. Love is easy. Marriage is hard. Divorce is a goddamned hole in the heart.”
David A. Lynch: “What Johansson does here is many times as monumental as any of Black Widows’s heroic acts. She’s rarely been better. Driver – as the self-centered, vulnerable, determinedly jaunty husband for whom work in New York City never stops and being with their son, Henry, on the opposite coast is paramount – perhaps never has.”
Embrace Your Geek: “I was surprised how much I loved this movie. I did not expect to love it this much, but the two lead actors are so great, and the film is so well created that you cannot help but love it.”
Film Reviews by Matt Olech: ” Noah Baumbach created a story that moves by its realism. It is one of the few, small films that have the luck to become a success. I can’t find any elements that I wouldn’t like in it. Beautiful subtle colours, script, brilliant acting performances creates one of my favourite film of the year.”
Hector Valvede (Grade: A): “Beset in mercilessly real melancholy, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson wring two of the most gutting performances of 2019”
High Contrast: “…this film is so well written, shot, and produced that you will feel like you have personal experience by the end. You feel like you are a part of this couple’s journey. You will want them to succeed. You will want them to be happy. And you will want them to work it out.”
Jarrad Jzyk (9/10): “Overall Marriage Story punched me right in the gut and I loved it. It really is a modern day Kramer vs Kramer with a lot more humor and in my opinion has more heart. It’s one of the best written and directed films of the year and has two Oscar worthy Tour de Force performances in Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.”
Jordan Woodson’s Reviews: “…is raw and emotional with stellar writing, directing and acting across the board. It’ll leave you in absolute tears so yes, make sure you have some tissues near you when you stream this on Netflix (you should definitely watch it as long as you’re in the right headspace).”
Laurie Stone: “I didn’t enjoy the film, and I don’t think it’s good. It felt false from beginning to end and like a piece of self-congratulation on the part of the director/writer for giving the female character her due. He doesn’t. Her position is witless and makes no sense within the terms of the breakup and as a result makes everything she says about feeling pushed around and used sound like a sudden tantrum, a spurt of #MeToo juice directed at her husband, who hasn’t really done anything.”
Let’s Talk About Movies (3.5/5): “Baumbach’s humane and often hilarious film gets under your skin from the very first moment. Every scene registers poignantly, from an opening sequence where Charlie and Nicole make lists about why they love each other, to a heartbreaking moment where they do the exact opposite somewhere in the middle. Baumbach sits back and lets us watch. His film hits hard. It’s raw, beautiful, devastating, and one of the best movies of the year.”
Movie Man Jackson (Grade: A-): “The buzz is legit surrounding Marriage Story. It’s a moving love story told through the lens of a divorce; an epic covered in basic wrapping paper. I’ve never divorced, much less married. However, I feel like I’ve been in the heat of one after viewing.”
Movie Meister Reviews / Lee (5/5): ” Everything about Marriage Story is just great, from the perfect framing to the incredible performances to a script that’s so meticulous I wouldn’t be stunned to learn that it included when to breathe. It’s the kind of film that just grabs you and pulls you in before you have a chance to complain, it’s just generally wonderful in every way one could hope a dramedy about divorce would be.”
Movie Nation / rogerinorlando (2.5/4): ““Marriage Story” is almost funny enough and touching just often enough to endorse. It’s good, but it’s no “Scenes from a Marriage” or “Husbands and Wives” or hell, “Company,” for that matter. It’s just Netflixable.”
Movies Unchained: “Baumbach has made one of the year’s most extraordinary films, exploring the depths of the human condition with humour and pathos, telling an earnest story about people dealing with change, and all the challenges that life tends to throw at us, sometimes unexpectedly.”
mumofthreedevils: ” The film is stunning. Beautifully acted by all throughout, with stand out performances by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johannson. It is funny, sombre, heart wrenching, gut punching, I could go on and on.”
Neil Baker (5/5): “…at the centre of this beautifully directed drama, are Johansson and Driver. Both embracing their characters and the complexity of their emotional journey with masterful performances. While being surrounded by a supporting cast who in turn add layers of humour, anxiety, fear and love to the journey.”
PopCult: “I cannot emphasize how damn good Scarlett Johanssen and Adam Driver are in this film. Their performances are so genuine and honest at every turn. Johanssen hasn’t been this good in years, mainly because she’s been doing so much big-budget special effect heavy work rather than character-centered pieces.”
Reviewsien: “Both Johansson and Driver are excellent in their roles. It’s interesting to see how good they can both be when they aren’t playing comic book characters or space fantasy roles. The film is actually done so well it’s emotionally hard to watch.”
RsKViews: “…gives a beautiful experience,an experience that shouldn’t be neglected so do watch this one.”
Seeing Things Secondhand: “…is not a great movie about feelings. It is a very successful legal drama, so much so that I think its best moment in performance and in writing is in a line reading Adam Driver has while he’s talking to Alan Alda.”
The Buzzed Beat (7/10): “Is it going to win any awards? Nah but it’s a solid movie to watch with your significant other so she’s scared shitless to go through a divorce. Oh and that Kylo Ren guy is in it.”
The World of Celebrity (5/5): ” is just staggering. It will emotionally resonate with you for hours after you’ve seen it. It is heartbreaking watching a couple going from being loving and supportive to ugly, petty and downright nasty, even though they always intended for the process to be amicable.”
Through The Movie Lens: “It was a shock to those familiar with the director’s work who shies away from all that is mainstream and commercial, basically everything that Netflix represents. But hey, if Scorsese is doing it, why shouldn’t everyone else?”
Trailer Trashed: “Not my usual brand of entertainment at all. But really so pleased I gave it a shot. Marriage story has a huge seal of approval from me, I urge you all to at east give it a fair shot.”
When The Credits Roll: “…the best divorce movie I think I’ve seen. It’s funny, brutally emotional, and it’s all performed, written, and directed so extremely well that it feels like I’m watching a home video of two people I know when Nicole and Charlie are on screen together. It hurts, it amuses, it invokes an array of feelings, but more so than that it’s frustratingly good that you just want to be wrapped up in its embrace for another two hours, even with everything it puts you through.”
Zimm Score Movie Guide: “I will say up front is the best film of the year, and perhaps the best dramedy I’ve seen to date. While in the past I’ve mentioned how filmmakers seem challenged to seamlessly blend comedy and drama together, Baumbach took up this challenge and passed with flying colors.”
What did you think of Marriage Story? Discuss below.