Marriage Story (2019)
Noah Baumbach's filmography is quite varied, but if there's one theme he has revisited more than a few times, it's relationship and family issues, like in the Oscar nominated The Squid and the Whale or Margot at the Wedding. With his latest project, Baumbach has arguably made his magnup opus so far. Marriage Story is a multi-faceted, painful and enormously engrossing delve into a marriage and ensueing breakup, separation and divorce proceedings. With its scope and relevance, the movie is like a modern-day Kramer vs. Kramer, and the fact that the acting by Scarlett Johansson and the completely exposed Adam Driver actually matches that of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in the aforementioned film is quite an accomplishment. What Baumbach does here is clever, because he uses the horrible American child custody system to deconstruct two sympathetic, sensible people into selfish, intolerable versions of themselves. And we get to feel their frustration and pain, and watch these people disintegrate in front of our eyes. Next to the superb two leads, there are brilliant supporting work by Laura Dern as a well-meaning but scrupulous lawyer, and Alan Alda as her contrast working in the same system. Randy Newman's beautiful score was among six Academy Award nominations for this film, which also included Driver (Best Actor), Johansson (Best Actress), Dern (Best Supporting Actress) and two for Baumbach (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay).