I honestly thought that after Joker there was no 2019 film that could provide a performance that would rival Joaquin Phoenix’s.
However, after finally watching Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story on Netflix, I can say he now has some stiff competition.
Every single actor does an incredible job in this film, which follows a couple going through a divorce and trying to make things easy for their son, only for their divorce proceedings to escalate.
Both Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are flawless as Nicole and Charlie Barber and are natural Oscar contenders, especially Driver who blew me away in so many scenes, like the one where he gives an impassioned song.
Again, if Joker had been released any other year then Driver would have an Oscar in the bag with this performance.
Complimenting the actors’ performances is the character writing for both Charlie and Nicole, with the film showing both of them to be flawed people who the audience can sympathize with and decide who is more at fault for the failure of their marriage.
And it’s not just the actors that are great but the cinematography as well with both long, extended takes and quick cuts being utilized to for dramatic and thematic effect perfectly.
Baumbach did an amazing job directing this film.
The only minor criticism I can think of is that it did take me a little bit to relate to Charlie and Nicole because of their celebrity status, which initially felt slightly alienating.
But, this issue I was having did quickly dissipate because of how the story and character arcs played out, along with the great the performances and cinematography so I can hardly fault the film.
Marriage Story is an emotional, highly crafted film that is definitely one of the best of the year.