This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Shachar’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The fact that this is a story about the separation of two human beings that fell in-love and that will remain emotionally intertwined for the rest of their lives still emotionally destroys me.
I am lucky enough to have parents that have never come undone like this. That I never had to witness an ugly custody battle or be the subject of one. While Marriage Story is heartbreaking in depicting all of that, it is still so emotionally raw and beautiful because most of it comes from a place of deep love for your child, but also hurt for not feeling appreciated and loved during the course of your relationship.
I haven’t gone back to read my previous reviews, but I know that many have talked about how this film is so focused on Charlie that Nicole is made out to be a villain at times. I did not feel that to be true at all during this watch. Instead, I scoffed at her recalling some of the things he said to her (making fun of her for the pilot only to then realize she could funnel the money back into his theatre company) or what we saw him say to her (“I prefer your hair long.”) It was true – he was so merged with his selfishness that he didn’t see it as selfishness anymore.
But it was still so painful to see him. To see him voice his most brutal, animalistic hatred. To see him drain his savings because the judicial system needed him to prove he wouldn’t be an absentee parent while also trying to prove that he was not part of an LA-based family. To see him reading the note Nicole wrote about him about what a great father he was, and how much he loved just being with his son.
When I first watched Marriage Story, I didn’t know that this would be the film I would revisit as often as I have. But watching it makes things better somehow. Not because the goings-on on-screen are good or show the goodness in relationships (quite the opposite.) But because in showing the bad, we are able to see what was there before. And in truly, truly phenomenal directing and writing. In performances that make me happy about modern cinema. In moments that make me laugh out loud and the next ones that make me shed tears. Somehow, I feel better.