Shortly after this show went live on Netflix we heard so many good things about it. Getting nominated for lots of awards and starring two of my favorite actors, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. A couple of reviewers did a best of list for 2019 and they both had A Marriage Story in their top 5. They both mentioned that it was funny.
I’m not sure what movie they were watching but neither my wife nor I found anything funny about the show. It started out warmly, with each partner writing down all the things they liked about each other. Then of course, the wife refuses to share and off we go on a course, that in hindsight I should have predicted. The title of the show threw me off. So did the movie poster. They look happy don’t they? I thought this was going to be about their marriage. They both have a hand in the union getting to where it had, to a point where the movie opens with the pair at a marriage counselor. Spoilerish stuff follows:
Now, don’t get me wrong, Johansson and Driver were both fantastic in their roles. The writing was good to a point, but the plot . . . awful may be too strong a word, but we found very little to endorse other than the acting. It was one bitter, mournful scene after another. We kept waiting for something good to happen, even one thing, but no. It kept spiraling down, chapter after chapter, to a heartbreaking ending. Two narcissistic protagonists, one openly self-centered, the other keeps her narcissism covered up until things get out of hand. Although, both actors are great at their craft, the characters they portray are sad and unable to communicate with each other in any way that matters.
I am honestly dumbfounded that it is getting such recognition. It really is not a story about marriage at all, but the slow shattering of a marriage, that potentially could have been salvaged if they had managed to be honest with each other and talked about their issues instead of letting them fester. Of course, that would have made for a very different movie, one that would have earned the title of the show. This one really should have been called A Divorce Story. I grew up in a house where my parents divorced when I was 6. I’ve been through one myself, but having been married happily for going on 27 years this time, I have an idea how to make one work. The movie was truly cringe-worthy at moments. I can’t recommend this show to anyone.