Forthcoming: Marriage Story

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CSM126
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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#51 Post by CSM126 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:20 am

So much for the tolerant left.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#52 Post by furbicide » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:55 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:40 pm
Right after he asks Ann Coulter about feminism or Milo Yiannopoulos about gay rights?
I dunno ... I mean, sure Felix says some cringeworthy things from time to time (though part of the humour is in how obviously dumb and overly-generalised they are), but are we suddenly going to pretend that self-deprecating Jewish humour isn’t a long-established and celebrated phenomenon?

https://youtu.be/clrFI7Muqf0

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#53 Post by Clarence » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:00 pm


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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#54 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:57 pm

FWIW, when I saw Parasite at the IFC center, they bookended their block of trailers with TWO different full-length trailers for Marriage Story. They both begin with narration on how one spouse is perfect before we're shown what appears to be divorce proceedings. (The first trailer's narration is about Scarlett Johansson's character, the second Driver's.)

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#55 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:46 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:20 am
His and Hers trailers
I believe you're referring to these, posted upthread?

I really appreciate the idea behind them and hope Baumbach is able to find a way to take perspective along these lines in the finished film.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#56 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:24 pm

Ah yes, missed that!

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#57 Post by Black Hat » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:10 am

I think Netflix has finally found their golden ticket here, Marriage Story is a near perfect work. Baumbach and Driver I think are shoo ins for screenplay and actor, tho I think Banderas deserves the latter. I don't see them awarding OUATIH or Uncut Gems over this, for best picture, but the Netflix variable may come into play. How close to perfect depends on what you think of Scarjo, the way she's shot at certain times makes you think if Baumbach was trying hide her. How much you enjoy it depends on your proximity to divorce and how much you want to revisit those memories. Every cut, every piece of blocking is precise. You can tell Baumbach knew exactly what he wanted to do going in and there is no line or shot wasted. At the end the film is simply about life, how shit happens, how sometimes we don't know why, but it just does and most of us are trying to do our best to figure it out. Julie Hagerty is absolutely wonderful, didn't even know she was still making movies. The lawyer byplay is accurate, but also does enough to give you a break from the film's hostile intensity. Laura Dern seems to be on a roll so I'd think she'll win best supporting. Not sure what the roll out's going to be but try to catch it on the big screen, it's a totally different experience, more than it usually would be.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#58 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:16 pm

Considering I love just about everything the man has made, this was unsurprisingly very good with moments of greatness. What was surprising (but probably shouldn’t have been given the content) is the fearlessly direct path Baumbach takes in his methodology for screen writing. I’ve always admired him for the difficult restraint he typically employs to his subject, skirting around the core of interpersonal dynamics in the peripheries, poking at the meat with equal intensity to the films that dramatize the same situations, authentic to how most interactions actually occur. Here he strikes deep and remains fixed in the core of the issue to extremely uncomfortable levels, but the material demands it for the same authenticity as his other work does for its reservations from resorting to unrealistically cathartic dramatization. After all, this film is about the overwhelming emotions in a battle for one’s life, and there’s nothing exaggerated about the way the film unfolds.

Both actors carry their weight in power (and each gets an opportunity to carry at least one long scene in extended takes that heighten their positions), and although the narrative has more evenly distributed validation than most films about divorce, it definitely veers towards Driver’s point of view for the majority of the runtime. The film is funny but despite the humor, the mood remains emotionally draining and borderline unbearable at times. It’s the work of a mature filmmaker who realizes that, despite one’s own innate necessity to experience the world their own way, perspectives are equal in value and not simplified in terms of right and wrong. Even the title (itself initially perplexing since this is the story of a divorce) is apt in describing the motifs of biased memory and experience, as each member of the couple has constructed their own narratives of their marriage, and this is the story of their expressions of their stories, and the collective process of finding a path to compromise, becoming one story that’s only capable of validation and not understanding. A fusion of subjectivity, in the face of the impossibility of objectivity. This is a film only someone who has processed the unbalanced emotional pains of this kind of life changing event could come to with some empathy for the other side. The fact that it’s slightly more filtered through Driver’s eyes only makes the film itself more authentic and Baumbach more human, for how could he ever completely stabilize his own feelings even if he can stabilize his stance.
SpoilerShow
While the screaming match and more blatantly louder emotional scenes are striking in their own right, my favorite moment was when Driver first gets served, and becomes briefly entranced, before finally able to speak only the words “I feel like I’m in a dream.” The way he processes so many emotions in his face at once is understated and couldn’t be more accurate to his character, and honestly most people who receive news that makes life so ‘real’ that it feels the opposite.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#59 Post by Nasir007 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:17 am

This is Baumbach's magnum opus. This is only his 5th film I have seen after Greenberg, Frances Ha, Mistress America and Meyerowitz Stories.

I think at this point it has to be said, his skill as a director is vastly underappreciated. All his films are very well directed and it was first in Frances Ha that I noticed the sophistication of his blocking and mis en scene. Mistress America has it in its extended farce sequence set in the house as well.

Here it is very readily apparent and Baumbach finds his fullest expression as a director.

There is a density to the film which is quite compelling throughout and which will reward multiple viewings. Every single scene has been worked on to the maximum. You can see the effort put in writing every single scene. I don't know how the film was shot but I can imagine a lot of work-shopping or rehearsal or lots of takes. Every scene has multiple lines of action. There isn't just a conversation, there is always a lot of background detail, and side events even within single scenes. It is most engrossing. There is so much going on at all times, so much to observe, that you are definitely interested throughout the film.

The script is quite dense too. Every scene seems to have an A narrative going on and woven in a B narrative. Very sophisticated. Just like how in real life with people you are familiar with you actually have several different conversations at once parsed through and woven in and out. All this density of detail lends a sense of verisimilitude and real life to the picture. It is his most detailed work to date for sure, very worked upon, and has all the makings of a 'culminating' work or whatever you want to call it. This is his calling card work - see what I can do - I have put my best effort into every frame. George Eliot said of Ramola, "There is no book of mine about which I more thoroughly feel that I could swear by every sentence as having been written with my best blood, such as it is, and with the most ardent care for veracity of which my nature is capable." Baumbach might say the same or something similar of Marriage Story.

That said - the film sorta kinda plays out how you would imagine it would. Baumbach makes the canny call of structuring his film like a procedural - a divorce procedural. It gives the movie the forward leaping arrow of time which I think any good narrative needs to remain compelling. So that was a smart call. There are obviously some shouty scenes and I am afraid to say if I were to single out a single scene that rung hollow to me, it would be one of the shouting matches. I could see through that moment and that didn't quite work for me.

Also the framing device of the screenplay which I won't mention here - I think is a similar device like the one used in Eternal Sunshine though my memory of that movie is hazy. But it seemed similar and a little bit pat. But it kinda sorta works.

Overall, an A+ for effort. Baumbach has definitely used his fullest capacity as an artist to deliver this picture, you can see every word and every frame with his hard work in it. Come year end time, I think he might be rewarded for all his hard work.

--

I would be remiss if I did not mention the score. The movie has a surprisingly traditional film score which I was quite surprised by. None of your typical indie crap. I actually like myself a traditional film score and typically these kind of movies never have that. So hat tip to Randy Newman. Imagine his famous, memorable and unforgettable finale music from Toy Story 3 - but extended to the entire picture - that is what his score sounds like here. I am going to seek it out to see if it works just as well as outside the picture.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#60 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:18 am

May I inquire about how you can declare a film someone's "magnum opus" if you've only seen his four most recent films in a decades long career?

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#61 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:08 am

I don’t think Baumbach’s directing skills are under-appreciated at all. I haven’t seen Highball yet but everything else is pretty great starting with his first, and I believe plenty of members here, as well as critics and audiences, have been vocal about this for a while already.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#62 Post by domino harvey » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:18 am

Highball is pretty wretched but otherwise I’d say Baumbach has been rather undervalued as a director even by those who like him, as I think many see him as a writer first. That may be accurate, but he’s clearly learned a lot from his obvious influences and gotten more confident visually, though I’d compare him more to Hawks or Ford in employing his chosen style to fit the script, lending it a lack of aesthetic cohesion

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#63 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:27 am

That’s definitely true of Marriage Story with perhaps his most direct script yet requiring a bolder manipulation of force and consequently a larger shift in style. Baumbach is absolutely seen as a writer first, and I’d be in the camp to agree that it’s his greatest skill, but I meant that while he’s certainly grown, he’s been lauded for creating acclaimed works back to at least The Squid and the Whale, which at the time I remember being raved about as a great film not singling out the writing but the direction of all aspects. He’s not going to be given the auteur stamp though that’s for sure, without the obvious detail consistency that tends to be the prime propellor of value in direction as assigned by the public for better or worse.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#64 Post by Persona » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:46 am

domino harvey wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:18 am
Highball is pretty wretched but otherwise I’d say Baumbach has been rather undervalued as a director even by those who like him, as I think many see him as a writer first. That may be accurate, but he’s clearly learned a lot from his obvious influences and gotten more confident visually, though I’d compare him more to Hawks or Ford in employing his chosen style to fit the script, lending it a lack of aesthetic cohesion
While We're Young is affable enough but very slight, almost feels like someone doing a very lite Baumbach impression both in terms of the writing and the directing.

I have not seen Highball or Mistress America. Aside from that I think I'm somewhat in the minority as Margot at the Wedding is really where everything's come together best for me in a Baumbach movie, but I look forward to seeing Marriage Story.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#65 Post by Murdoch » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:42 pm

Margot at the Wedding is my favorite of his as well, and at the time I saw it thought it one of the best American movies of the 2000s. I'm due for a rewatch of it since all I can recall now is the ending and a few throwaway scenes.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#66 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:06 pm

Margot at the Wedding is as good a choice as any for his best. Baumbach takes his skills at writing and directing characters around the root causes of diseased relationships, even in the moments where things come to a head, while fleshing out more than most works how one’s own shortcomings are the actual prime contributors to the source. It might be his most complicated and authentic film among a filmography that’s full of them, and along with The Meyerowitz Stories has the ambition and emotional intelligence to treat each person and their respective dynamics with every member of a system including strangers as individual and unique, with equal parts empathy and responsibility. He knows how the make the invisible become apparent without spelling it out, and this is where I think he shines most as a director of his own scripts, faint discouragements of overacting while drawing out performances that can be loud with minimal volume.

I think my main problem with Marriage Story isn’t that it’s missing these qualities but that it has a new layer of ambition to dictate in detail the painful reality of the process of a divorce, initiating a new system (one that’s not human but purely institutional) that coats the rest of the more interesting drama and distracts from its power as an overbearing second independent variable. I still liked this a lot, and I don’t think there’s another way to tell this story as earnestly as he does here, but I prefer Baumbach when he sticks to the socially constructed interpersonal systems without too many additional intrusive details to allow breathing room for the subtle complexity of those human systems, and the individual identities of his characters, to drive the narrative. It’s not a problem with the movie but a problem I have as a viewer in this case, but I walked away from the movie more fearful of the process of divorce than I did empathetic of the characters, and this movie is full of empathy for its characters. To me that’s a failure, but not necessarily the film’s.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#67 Post by nitin » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:54 am

This was interesting because while it was undoubtedly pretty good, a bit like Parasite I find the almost unanimous praise a little head scratching as, like Bong, Baumbach has made many better movies.

Some of the moments just felt inauthentic to me and overly strained, almost as if he did not want to go too bitter and had to undercut the scene with a finish that was touching but in a superficial rather than organic way. On the other hand, the humour was also generally dialled down from the depths of farce and awkwardness he has explored previously.

But the lead performances are exemplary and the movie still has quite a few scenes that work very well. I am just not sure the sum is greater than some of those individual parts.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#68 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:38 am

I don't want to sound too cynical, but imagine how much interesting this movie would've been with actual stakes outside of the same old bourgeois concerns about whether to live in New York or LA, or how big of a check you're writing to a high priced lawyer (that will not bounce, because you have won a genius grant [quickly bracketing that I'm not sure how many films featuring characters who have won a MacArthur Genius Grant have been made, but somehow I've seen all of them]).

I am lucky enough to be on the borderline of upper middle class these days, and boy oh boy, do I pray that I never see myself in these characters. Baumbach typically does such a good job digging around for humanity in even the most unlikeable, unreachable pedants and curmudgeons. But it seems as though when his work touches closest to his own bones, he isn't willing to dig any deeper than he needs to in order to tug at the heartstrings of people with the same explosive narcissism as the characters onscreen. I can absolutely imagine this being an instance of a massively praised film by urban critics releasing to crickets from everyone without a New Yorker tote bag.

And listen, the 1% need entertainment too. But Baumbach has done so much better than this, and he will do so much better than this. Its occasional charms and occasional sharp dialogue didn't seem to do much for the audience I was in (opening night in Philadelphia, the 2nd largest auditorium at the theater was about 1/8th full) either. There wasn't a wet eye in the house.

EDIT: Left one thing out: there's really an Oscar campaign for Laura Dern that has her in the front of the race, really? I absolutely adore Dern, but she's playing exactly the same character that she did in Big Little Lies for two seasons - it's broad and exaggerated and is no better than, say, Ray Liotta's performance as Driver's attorney

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#69 Post by nitin » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:17 am

mfunk, re the LA vs New York aspect, I think that part of the film worked better on a character level than you are giving it credit for. To Driver’s character New York was where he made himself from scratch, he moved there without knowing anyone and I think his attachment to New York is driven by earning and establishing his name and life there. To Johannson, LA was the big ‘what if’ that she gave up and wanted to now make up for.

Otherwise, I don’t disagree with much of what you wrote, as you can see from my comments above.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#70 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:00 pm

You're right, although as hard as I tried I couldn't invest in such a first world concern. Driver, in that particular aspect, seemed particularly selfish, since the kid obviously responded well to being around more extended family.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#71 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:33 pm

Considering Baumbach’s own admission to relating most closely with some of his more perverse or unattractive characters, it’s not that surprising that Driver, as the most obvious Baumbach surrogate, possesses the flaws that he does. This doesn’t void the criticisms but I’ve always admired his willingness to be so unrestrained in his self-consciousness, even if it doesn’t change the actual trait of selfishness.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#72 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:08 pm

Sure, but in this narrative, he certainly is the most sympathetic figure overall

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#73 Post by knives » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:09 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:00 pm
You're right, although as hard as I tried I couldn't invest in such a first world concern. Driver, in that particular aspect, seemed particularly selfish, since the kid obviously responded well to being around more extended family.
The question of leaving home and the social importance of cities along with the others mentioned so far are quite old. Literally at least biblical in distance.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#74 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:36 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:08 pm
Sure, but in this narrative, he certainly is the most sympathetic figure overall
Oh absolutely, and that’s partly where the film doesn’t exactly work, even if you can view his failed attempt at balancing perspective as authentic in and of itself. Though that doesn’t stop him from ousting himself in other ways, and I also felt the film ended with an interesting reveal that perhaps - regardless of Driver/Baumbach being “in the right” about the general arguments of justice (residency in NY, manipulation of systems by Dern and ScarJo, etc) - it may ultimately be the “right” thing for his son to be in CA. The admission of this unmeasurable justice divorced from sterile sound arguments allows one to view the entire film in a different light, as Driver’s perspective has tainted the narrative with a higher degree of solipsism than we may have thought.

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Re: Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

#75 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:03 am

knives wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:09 pm
mfunk9786 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:00 pm
You're right, although as hard as I tried I couldn't invest in such a first world concern. Driver, in that particular aspect, seemed particularly selfish, since the kid obviously responded well to being around more extended family.
The question of leaving home and the social importance of cities along with the others mentioned so far are quite old. Literally at least biblical in distance.
Within the context of the film, the child doesn't feel much of a connection to New York as his home, but Driver has an idealized view of what he wants his son to be (i.e. someone raised by the collective of his theater crew, sort of a lone wolf who doesn't have much of a connection to his family like he is, despite the fact that he is very receptive to the stimulus of having family closeby and more friends in Los Angeles). The first world concern to which I refer is Driver's, who puts a ton of cultural cachet into his son being raised in New York as though someone watching this film in Des Moines is supposed to be riveted by the prospect

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