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MARRIAGE STORY – Randy Newman

November 26, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, before he became the King of All Pixar, Randy Newman often wrote scores for sensitive, small scale dramas – titles like Parenthood, Avalon, Awakenings, and then later Pleasantville. It’s been quite a while since he scored something similar, but Marriage Story is one of those types of films. It’s a contemporary drama that, essentially, takes an intimate look at the breakdown and eventual end of a marriage, and all the absurdities, legal wranglings, and emotional challenges such an event brings. The film stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as Charlie and Nicole, the couple whose relationship we witness coming to an end. Charlie is a brilliant and mercurial New York theater director, and Nicole is an actress, his muse, and the mother to their young son. As the film unfolds we see them beginning to come apart at the seams – slowly at first, and despite them having the best intentions to keep everything civil – until, eventually, all the raw emotion and suppressed anger comes flooding to the surface. Driver and Johansson are absolutely astonishing in their performances – open, multi-faceted, wholly believable, devastating – with one scene in Driver’s apartment standing as one of the best-acted single scenes I have watched in many, many years. There’s also terrific support from Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Julie Hagerty, and a sparkling screenplay by writer-director Noah Baumbach. Read more…