Marriage Story (2019) Movie Review

Director: Noah Baumbach

Writer: Noah Baumbach (Screenplay)

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Merritt Wever, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, Alan Alda

Plot: Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Powerful

Story: Marriage Story starts as we meet theatre director Charlie (Driver) and his wife actress Nicole (Johansson) they are about to go through a separation, with Nicole starting a new life in LA where she is trying to return to the television or film, moving away from the New York theatre lifestyle.

With the lives going on completely different directions, Nicole is pushed into getting a lawyer in Nora Fanshaw (Dern) which sees the two looking at a divorce, something neither thought would come their way, where they end up seeing the darker side of a break up even if they want to remain friends for their son.

Thoughts on Marriage Story

Characters – Nicole is an actress, mother and wife, she is given a chance to leave the theatre and return to television, while the couple are going through a separation and her moving to LA. She has given up a lot of her dreams for her marriage in the past, which is one of the reasons why she wants to get a divorce. Charlie is the theatre director, father and husband in New York, he wants to stay in New York running his theatre company. He is more stubborn that he wants to admit. Nora Fanshaw and Jay are both the lawyers hired to represent the divorcing couple, they show their ruthless sides whenever the two are trying to get the upper hand.

PerformancesAdam Driver gives us one of the best performances of the year, where he shows one that suddenly sees his whole life come crashing around him, showing the signs of his anger of everything happening. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic too where we see how she is escaping from a trapped life showing her character start a new life. Laura Dern and Ray Liotta are both great in the supporting roles usually getting the bigger and louder scenes.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that are going through a separation that turns into a messy divorce as they expose the problems, they both had through the years. The best way to describe this story is brilliant, when we break it down, it shows how relationships can break down and how two people want to end things calmly and for the right reasons, remaining friends for their son. It shows us how things can get out of hand when lawyers get involved and how everybody seems to know best apart from the two who are going through the breakup. We see how lives can change, people can move on and how holding on can be heart breaking. It is watching how both Nicole and Charlie are reacting to how everything is spirally out of hand which is easy for the highlight of the storytelling.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film is brilliant, it does get a perfectly laugh when needed, while staying straight when it doesn’t, the romance does show us how love can go from the heights to the end.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings of cities, New York and LA, the locations are used to show how the lives will need to be changed, not just for Nicole and Charlie, but their son too.


Scene of the Movie – Let’s try and talk this through without a lawyer.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The timeline isn’t the best.

Final Thoughts This is easily one of the best films of the year, it shows us how love can end and how a divorce can spirally out of control, the two lead performances are easily within the best of the year too.

Overall: Awards Guaranteed.

The Last Dance (2016)

Director: Amanda Sharp

Writer: Amanda Sharp (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie, Justin Bartha, Gina Rodriguez, Carmen Tonry

 

Plot: A story about love and loss. And maybe one day – love again.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dream Chasing Drama

 

Story: The Last Dance starts as we meet Athena (Leslie) a determined dancer still trying to prove herself in her field, she lets off steam with one-night-stands, with her latest one Bryan (Bartha) getting interrupted by her father Jack (Liotta) who announces he has cancer.

Jack calls Athena back to start his treatment with his 6-year-old daughter Honey Bunny (Tonry) which will lead to Athena needing to make the big decision about her future, right when her biggest opportunity comes his way.

 

Thoughts on The Last Dance

 

Characters – Athena has been working on her career in dancing, she is finally about to take the biggest chance of her career, until her father arrives barely bad news. She is left to decide whether to support her father or follow her dreams. Jack is the father who is set in his old ways in life, which sees his call his daughter back to help him through his cancer struggles, as he is left to see if she will stay with him to help him, while raising his 6-year-old daughter. Honey Bunny is the youngster daughter in of Jack’s she has an adventurous childhood, she has followed in his footsteps with what she has been taught. Bryan is the new guy that walks into Athena’s life for a one-night stand only to be one of the best friends through the struggles. Natalia is the oldest friend to Athena who is there for her when she returns home.

PerformancesRose Leslie is strong in the leading role showing that she does have a career after Game of Thrones. Ray Liotta gives one of his best modern day performances. Justin Bartha and Gina Rodriguez are solid when we see them, but sadly do see to have limited screen time.

StoryThe story follows a young lady who has been chasing her dreams only to see them come crashing down when her father is struck down with cancer, forcing her to care for him before ultimately needing to make the biggest decision of her life and learn to let people into her life once again. The story here does give us a wonderful family dynamic which shows the differences between the three generations that show how life has changed. This story however does have a major twist in the final act which turns a lot of what we have seen on its head, it also does confuse certain scenes though.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from how the three interact, it can get a laugh when needed to move the story and show how they can have inside jokes.

SettingsThe film uses too main settings, LA where the dreams are and Florida where Jack is, the two locations show the decision that Athena must make.


Scene of the Movie –
For my Honey Bunny.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough from the supporting characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a drama that does hit home hard once we see the story of how the film ends, it shows how seeing a family member suffer will make life for anybody.

 

Overall: Hard Hitting drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Anticipated for 2020 – F

ABC Film Challenge

Anticipated for 2020

F

The year 2019 is coming to a close and it is time to look ahead to the new year, through December the subject is the films I am looking forward to seeing, hopefully I will be able to select one film for each letter even if we dive into actors, directors or themes. Join in if you want and let’s get this conversation going about the next hopefully wonderful year in film.

Fast & Furious 9

Stars – Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren

The White Massai Warrior (2019) Movie Review

Director: Benjamin Eicher

Writer: Peter Eicher (Screenplay)

Plot: Southern Kenya and northern Tanzania are home to the Massai, one of the world’s last great warrior tribes. They are considered the most courageous and dangerous hunters in Africa and live isolated from any civilization. For the first time a man gets the chance to live with the Massai and join their infamous Massai Warrior School. Never before has a white man been invited to experience this experience.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Documentary

Story: The White Massai Warrior starts as Benjamin Eicher has been invited to join and document the Massai Warriors in South Kenya and North Tanzania, a tribe that is completely one with nature, they sleep in the wilderness, protect the wildlife and don’t have any modern luxuries.

Benjamin and his crew will slowly learn to be part of the tribe, which sees the playful side of the tribe, before getting into the more traditional ways, this is a month-long journey for Benjamin and his crew.

Thoughts on The White Massai Warrior

Final Thoughts This is a documentary that wants to put the spotlight on a once deadly tribe or warriors who have turned into protectors of nature instead of fierce hunters they were once known for. This does have the beautiful nature shots, which are always going to make any film in nature look wonderful. On the more negative or warning side of the film, the animal slaughter is far too much for the documentary and could easily be mentioned not shown. There are elements of this documentary that do feel more staged than a natural feel, which is meant to be implied with how everything has come from. This does give us the important look at how smaller tribes are still operating around the world, but never reaches the heights it could do.

Overall: By the Book Documentary.