Mince pies, Prosecco, a rotation of Studio 54-worthy party dresses. Ready or not, December is the month of excess. Likewise, the Netflix consumption goes into festive overdrive, with the holiday flicks dropping in droves. The usual suspects: When Harry Met Sally, Love Actually, The Holiday, Serendipity.
But what if you’re looking for something a little less schmaltz-laden this season? More bittersweet? A powerful reminder that the picture-perfect Christmas doesn’t exist in real life? Enter: Marriage Story.
A modern-day Kramer vs. Kramer, the film from Oscar-winning director, Noah Baumbach, tells a love story of sorts through the scope of its ending. It’s a detailed and devastating portrait of the breakdown of a relationship and a family staying together. In case you haven’t seen the posters, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play said divorcing couple, Charlie and Nicole Barber. It will resonate with anyone that’s experienced love, been heartbroken, gone through a divorce, or are the child of divorced parents.
You cannot fault either star’s pitch-perfect performances, unsurprisingly already attracting some heavy Oscar buzz. It's already leading the Golden Globe Awards with six nominations; including Best Drama, Best Actress (Johansson), Best Actor (Driver) and Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern). There’s one particular scene in the last 15 minutes of the movie – don’t worry, no spoilers - with Driver that is so laid-bare and beautiful it will make even the most grandiose of seasonal cynic’s cry. It’s not all doom and gloom though - true to Baumbach form, Marriage Story splices between humour and drama in a matter of seconds, with critics commenting on the film’s capacity to weave a “rom-com energy” into such a bleak subject.
"Every scene felt like the stakes were incredibly high," Driver said in a recent interview. "They all felt urgent. They all felt necessary. There wasn't a part that you could take out where the movie would survive without it." He added: “Usually there’s like one scene in a movie or maybe two that you’re dreading. With this one, every scene felt like it’s all too early in the schedule. It’s too early… and then maybe we can put it to next week, but then next weeks was worse. Again, I think that’s a testament to good writing.”
Marriage Story was released last month in select theatres before emerging on Netflix. Similarly, another top award contender, The Irishman, had a short theatrical window before launching on the streaming service. From gangster epics to biographical dramas, check out BURO.'s alt-Christmas film club below.
images courtesy of netflix