Movie Notes: Marriage Story

First of all, why is the female protagonist (who’s supposed to be a successful actress) so hideous, with such ugly hair and street lady wardrobe? That was so bizarre.

Also, an 8-year-old child of very educated, successful parents who can’t spell “Lego” and has the whole family constantly discuss whether he peed or pooped is weird.

Setting that aside, it’s a good movie. The female protagonist is the kind of horrible, vicious, disgusting, evil, and did I say HORRIBLE? person I hate. (For those who don’t know, I was married before and it was the same story but without the child). So it’s very realistic.

I haven’t read any reviews but I suspect there might be some clueless viewers who will see the movie as a story of female liberation or whatever. But I don’t think that the logic of the movie leads in that direction. There must be a reason why the female lead is made to look so ugly. I Googled the actress, and she’s normally very pretty. They must have had to work very hard to give her the hideous hair in the film. Also, her musical number in the movie is silly, trivial, and somewhat embarrassing, while the male lead gets a really powerful, deeply emotional musical number.

So yeah. Has anybody here seen it? It’s a good movie.

11 thoughts on “Movie Notes: Marriage Story”

  1. Is that the one with Scarlett Johannsen and Adam Driver? I made it about fifteen minutes in before being turned off by the cloying story and the precious annoying main characters.

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  2. ” so hideous, with such ugly hair and street lady wardrobe?”

    Award bait? A usually attractive and/or glamorous actress adopting a frumpy look for a role in a bid to be recognized for her talent is a very established hollywood trope.

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    1. Ah! Ok, I didn’t know that. I get it in the case of, for example, Charlize Theron playing a declasse serial killer but here the character is an Emmy-winning actress. Who apparently cuts her own hair over the sink and never washes it.

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  3. I watched it a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those movies where I really enjoyed many aspects of it, but in the end the great parts just didn’t come together into a great whole for me. It’s probably that the main characters are insufferable and I didn’t really care about them.

    As far as Scarlett Johannsen’s hair and clothes go, I thought they were trying portray her as worn down from being in an unhappy marriage. I was in a slowly dying relationship many years ago and when I look back at pictures from that time I look absolutely terrible, even in situations (vacations, parties, etc.) where I’m sure I would have described myself has feeling happy at the time.

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  4. I’m sure it’s a great movie, but I saw one clip and I know I’ll find the main characters too irritating to be able to sit through a whole movie with them.

    From what I’ve seen, viewers and reviewers aren’t taking a “female liberation!” message from this movie but I haven’t been reading a lot of reviews or anything so who knows. It seems like people are more sympathetic to the man though (even though in the one scene I saw he seemed like a dick, not that his wife came across well either.)

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  5. Haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve noticed that kids are generally portrayed unrealistically in most movies, as if no one involved in the production has spent any time with a child. For instance, I have an 8-year-old; he can read and spell pretty much anything you throw at him. He could probably spell “Lego” in preschool. I am sure every single one of his classmates, even the least intelligent ones, can spell “Lego” by now; they’re in 3rd grade, FFS; they’ve been learning how to spell for years. Also, pooping and peering should really not be an issue for most 8-year-olds as most have been potty trained for even more years.

    There is also a trope in many shows/movies where a kid who’s 8 or 10 gets into ridiculous trouble because they can’t resist following something shiny somewhere outside. These are not toddlers, who are quite a reckless bunch. Kids who are 8 or 10 are not little; they generally understand what is dangerous and are unlikely to just leave the house by themselves to go pursue whatever.

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  6. Saw Marriage Story yesterday. My impression resembles that of TomW. The movie was OK, with many good elements and some great details, but I feel it overall didn’t quite come together. The big fight was the worst part, with stilted dialogue and jabs that came out of nowhere (weren’t touched upon elsewhere in the movie). The worst thing is that the two don’t have chemistry or, more specifically, Driver has no chemistry with Johansson and seems really wooden around her. He’s very good by himself or in scenes with his sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and Alan Alda as his lawyer, but around Johansson he doesn’t seem like a he’s been around this person for years, which I don’t think is on purpose, especially because his character was described as a charismatic genius and good at making a family out of anyone who’s around. Overall, I think Driver was miscast in general and in particular opposing Johansson who, IMHO, gave a good performance. I don’t think she has great range as an actress, but she gave it her all. Laura Dern (playing Nora, Johansson’s character’s lawyer) was great, but then she always is, as were Johanssen’s character’s mother and sister (can’t bother to look up their names, but they’re reasonably well known).
    Best scenes: Driver and Johanssen’s character’s sister with pie; each of Driver and Alda’s scenes together; Johanssen’s monologue when she first met Dern; Driver and the catatonic court appointee observing Driver and kid’s dinner and evening routine; Johansson’s 5-second scene when she heard Driver was moving to get a residency at UCLA; the tying of the shoe lace at the end.
    Worst scenes: the big fight; the two cloying singing segments.

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    1. The sister was definitely great. I saw her in some teenage series a long time ago, and it was interesting to see her all grown up. And yes, the scene with the pie was great.

      I still have no idea why it was necessary to make the female lead so dumpy and give her the street person wardrobe.

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      1. I think it’s a combination of her being a theater actress since she moved to New York (so needn’t look glamorous) plus just feeling completely drained of the will to live in a marriage to a self-involved man, and possibly something a bit more sinister (self-protection).

        Before she left LA, she had long hair and was glowing and perky, and as soon as she moved back to LA she dyed her hair and her wardrobe became much more colorful. There is a small detail when her husband commented that she had dyed her hair and that he had always liked it long; looking drab with bathroom-sink-shorn hair might have also been a way to purposefully look unattractive to the husband so he wouldn’t solicit sex. Some victims of long-term sexual abuse will do that (destroy their bodies and their looks in various ways), trying and protect themselves by making themselves unattractive to the abuser. Not sure this is relevant for the movie, but could fit to an extent.

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