Directed by Noah Baumbach
Starring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansen, Ray Liotta, Laura Dern, Alan Alda
I was waiting to see this film because it was getting a lot of buzz, especially in references to the performances. As I saw it I was reminded of films like Kramer vs Kramer and Ms. Doubtfire even though that was more a comedy film. I was surprised that I started to see the movie and when it ended I saw that it was 2:00 in the morning, I could not stop seeing the movie, I needed to know what happened to these two characters.
The story is quite simply a story about a marriage that was ending. I believe that they loved each other but maybe reached a point where they did not want to try to work it out instead they wasted their energy in winning in the divorce what was the main difference, One wanted to live in L.A. and the other wanted to keep living in New York. We get to go through this hard process with the characters. Nicole and Charlie were married and had a son, they worked together, Charlie as a director of plays and Nicole as an actress. When Nicole gets a part in a tv series she goes with their son to L.A. where she then begins the process of divorce and hope to stay in L.A. Charlie knew that she wanted the divorce but he thought that she would stay in New York, and so the battle begins between them. It actually gets worse as lawyers get involved.
I liked the movie a lot, is a pure character film, it has no big plot twist or big surprises, it is an honest look at two people who loved each other falling apart and how that affected their lives. The one thing I found hard in the film was taking a side, which these kind of story most of the time presents one of the sides so flawed that you have to root for the good parent to win the custody of the child. The two characters are flawed in many ways and both have valid claims in the reasons why the marriage fell apart. The film does a great job in showing how hard a divorce can be and more so when maybe deep inside they did not want to be separate. Sometimes anger can keep you from allowing your heart to try to work it out and having lawyers making recommendations did not help. The ending of the film was heartbreaking to see.
The acting in the film is really excellent. In a year where the best actor category looks hard to pick one, Adam Driver delivers a powerful performance. For me, it is him and Phoenix the top two performances. Scarlett Johansen also gave a great performance. Now I have to say that Ray Liotta, Laura Dern and Alan Alda were all great in their supportive roles as the lawyers. The court scenes with Ray and Laura was so good to see.
I highly recommend the film, it is a great story with great performances.