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marriage story from netflix - film poster

Marriage Story: A Film Based on How Divorce Really Can Be

Categories: Divorce

Marriage Story: Written & Directed by Noah Baumbach

There has been a great deal of buzz about a new movie, Marriage Story, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johannson which was released by Netflix on December 6, 2019.  After reading a wonderful review about it and viewing a few trailers several months ago, I waited with excitement to finally see this film.  Hands down, the movie was well worth the wait.  Not since Kramer versus Kramer, which was made before I was old enough to know what divorce was about, has a story about painful divorce and/or parental alienation been so realistic.  In fact, Marriage Story is so realistic that as I watched it, I believed I was experiencing another day in my life as a Divorce Coach, instead of viewing a movie.

The Emotional Pain is Palpable

The emotional pain felt by the two main characters is palpable throughout the entire film.  Adam Driver does a magnificent job playing Charlie, a man who loves the life he has with his wife, to find himself existing in a life that has literally spun out of his control.  Emotionally shattered by the shocking news that his wife Nicole, played by Scarlett Johansson, who was his best friend, lover, and mother of his child, wants a divorce is something he never imagined.  Although completely devastated by his wife’s wishes to dissolve their marriage, he was relieved to learn that she wanted to divorce in a civil and amicable way without attorneys, just the two of them as the team they have always been and now as one to dismantle their marriage; a marriage that produced an eight-year-old boy named Henry.  The rest of the story is laid out on a red carpet for all the reasons why I am a Divorce Coach.

I could use this space to write a beautiful review of the movie.  My critique of the superior character development or the wonderful ensemble cast would be expansive and glowing, but I am a Divorce Coach and not a movie critic.  Quite honestly, the movie critics are doing an incredible job reviewing this masterpiece and don’t need any input from me.  That said, as a Divorce Coach, I give kudos to Noah Baumbach, the writer, and director of the film, for his outstanding depiction of an excruciating divorce and exposing the open wounds that come with it.  Baumbach not only crafts the disintegration of the relationship between Charlie and Nicole as they encounter the duress of the divorce, but he also does so with precision.

A Film Based on Reality

Marriage Story is a new Netflix prize and I don’t want to be the spoiler of a film that must be seen.  I will confirm that Marriage Story speaks exactly to what happens when it comes to divorce whether it starts out amicable or contentious.  The plot begins with the two people who were in love at one time; so much in love that they wanted to spend their lives together forever and did so by contracting in marriage.  When life happens and people’s love shifts and marriages fail, the rest as we say, “is history.”  As a Divorce Coach, I implore anyone who is going through a divorce, or even contemplating one, to devote two hours and ten minutes of their time and watch Marriage Story.  Take notice of Charlie and Nicole’s characters and the metamorphosis they make throughout the process; one that anyone going through a divorce will travel.  The attorneys played by Laura Dern, Ray Liotta and Alan Alda nailed the temperaments, slick positioning and shark-like posturing that is innate and instinctive to any matrimonial attorney.  No one could receive a better training session in what to expect from their divorce attorney and “the other side,” than how Dern, Liotta, and Alda brilliantly played those roles – so take notes!

Watching the film through the eyes of a Divorce Coach, both characters needed help navigating through the journey.  They had no idea how their lives could spiral out of control, how the attorneys were able to change the landscape of their lives and the way they interacted with each other.  Old wounds were bound to surface and new ones were formed.  A divorce coach could have helped them diffuse so much of the confusion so they could focus on what really mattered and that was finding their true paths while going through a divorce.

Marriage Story exceeds any movie I have seen, besides Kramer versus Kramer, where the central plot is divorce Marriage Story is intimate, frightening, and transparent in exposing Charlie and Nicole’s agony as the awkward moments between them are woven throughout the film.  Marriage Story is about real and raw pain, the real impact divorce has on families central and extended, real loss and real-life; life that changes whether we want it to or not.

A Divorce Can Quickly Evolve from Amicable to Contentious

Understanding the process and having support is important no matter what your particular divorce experience may be.  A divorce doesn’t need to be overwhelming.  To help clear away the confusion, I’ve written The Divorce Recovery Ladder Guide.  To fully prepare you for your divorce, I offer online group coaching.  For more personal guidance, I offer private divorce coaching.

Susan Shofer
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