Aug 292020

Marriage Story is a bittersweet drama featuring two incredible, award-worthy, performances (not to take away from Laura Dern who was great in her own right) by both Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.



Marriage Story
— The Criterion Collection —

Genre(s): Drama
The Criterion Collection | R – 137 min. – $39.95 | July 21, 2020

Date Published: 08/29/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Noah Baumbach
Writer(s): Noah Baumbach (written by)
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty

Features: Featurette, Interviews, Trailers
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.66
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 48.99 GB
Total Bitrate: 34.04 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

The Criterion Collection provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 4.0/5

Plot Synopsis: Charlie (ADAM DRIVER) is a charismatic New York theater director wedded to his work, and Nicole (SCARLETT JOHANSSON), an actor, who is ready to change her own life. Their hopes for an amicable divorce fade as they are drawn into a system that pits them against each other and forces them to redefine their relationship and their family.

Quick Hit Review: Marriage Story is a movie all about the performances. Both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson show off their acting chops and prove once more they are more than just their respective Disney franchise. The two are incredible together especially a pivotal scene near the end where they trade lines of dialogue in a single room, pretty much the key scene and one shown with the two at their best. Not to be outdone, we also get some nice work out of Laura Dern (who took home Best Supporting Actress), Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. Amazing work from all.

On a bit of the downside, I think life experiences may factor in how much the movie speaks to you on a an emotional level. For instance, I did not have a split household growing up. I’ve never been married and no kids, so on a personal level, never really struck a chord. Not to say there were some emotional moments, and the pit-in-your stomach feelings as the pair’s relationship devolves before your eyes, but can’t say it had a particular impact.

Marriage Story is the latest film from Noah Baumbach whose previous directorial films included The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, While We’re Young and Mistress America, plus scriptwriting on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Fantastic Mr. Fox and of all things, Madagascar 3.

I’m not overly familiar with his works outside of Squid and the Whale but seem to have the ability to direct some wonderful character-centric dramas and here there is a rawness that hits right at the heart, one scene in particular when Adam Driver’s Charlie breaks down, was especially painful.



The single disc comes in a fold out cardboard (at least it is sturdy) and side slides into a slip case. Inside are replica letters from each character and an essay booklet.


  • Noah Baumbach (20:49) — New interview recorded in 2019 as the writer-director discusses the story and characters.
  • The Players (19:36) are a set of interviews with actors Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty and Ray Liotta.
  • The Filmmakers (11:51) are interviews with Baumbach, Producer David Heyman, Editor Jennifer Lame, Production Designer Jade Healy, and Costume Designer Mark Bridges.
  • Randy Newman (11:12) — Interview with the veteran composer and includes footage of him working with Baumbach on the score.

The Making of Marriage Story (1:37:41) is a video journal of the film’s production with unseen on-set footage of the cast and crew. Basically a fly-on-the-wall featurette, which I kind of like.

Making a Scene with Noah Baumbach (6:43) has the director discussing a pivotal location in the film (that being the L.A. apartment).

Theatrical Trailers for both the Charlie and Nicole characters.


VIDEO – 5.0/5

The Criterion Collection releases Marriage Story onto Blu-ray, presented in its original 1.66 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfers. I usually don’t gush over the picture quality for dramas, but this one here looks incredible. The natural film grain and noise is intact and detail is incredibly sharp and well defined throughout. Colors have a, presumably in on purpose, saturation which even for a serious drama, is brighter than one would expect. Black levels also come across quite nicely with a nice starkness without appearing crushed.

AUDIO – 3.75/5

The movie comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It’s a serviceable enough although of course the bulk of this is strictly dialogue so almost everything is centrally located save for a few scenes in a crowded New York City street (remember those days?) or in L.A. traffic. There is some modest depth here and there but nothing noteworthy and Randy Newman’s score comes through the front and rear channels well enough.


OVERALL – 4.0/5

Overall, Marriage Story is a bittersweet drama featuring two incredible, award-worthy, performances (not to take away from Laura Dern who was great in her own right) by both Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. It might not have spoken to me as I’ve never been married nor have kids, but still can appreciate the storytelling by Noah Baumbach. The release from The Criterion Collection offers up excellent video and adequate audio alongside a good selection of bonus features.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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