(Credit: Netflix)

Noah Baumbach breaks down crucial Adam Driver scene in ‘Marriage Story’

Noah Baumbach’s Oscar-winning Netflix Original Marriage Story, starring Adam Driver and Scarlet Johansson, is a poignant exploration of love, loss and divorce. It is a stinging tale of rocky marriages that end in divorces and how it affects the life of the couple and the child. Theatre director Charlie Barber is in an estranged marital relationship with his wife, Nicole. Following disagreements and heartbreaks, the couple decides to part ways, sharing custody of their son Henry.

In what is supposedly one of the most realistic films to date, Baumbach elaborates on how the process of going through contentious divorce proceedings is an isolated experience, which brings a great deal of anguish. It celebrates the end of an era shared closely by two people who find it difficult to fill in the gulf created in their respective lives after their individual departures.

Detailed and tastefully balanced, Marriage Story is devoid of the usual melodrama that dominates the screen in such movies. Via the growing anxiety, tension and heartache, both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are phenomenal in the balanced script; they play their roles, as two individuals who love each other yet cannot be together, with effortless ease in a film that preserves the precious moments that follow legal as well as emotional separation.  

The intimate exploration of their vulnerability, anxiety and melancholy is unparalleled in his human commentary on relationships, in general. However, the climactic scene adds immeasurable poignancy to the film, adding a layer of thick tension and impenetrable heartache. 

Talking about the scene, Baumbach saif that the characters have “lost their voices; they’ve lost a sense of who they are”. 

The acclaimed director adds, “They’re trying to figure out what they believe anymore. And that’s a dangerous place, I think, for a couple to find themselves.”

The climax was admittedly challenging to shoot and took over two days to be filmed. Charlie and Nicole had their ultimate breakdown, putting across their own perspectives, perceptions, ideas and voices, trying to reclaim their rightful position in each other’s lives. 

Completely alone in their apartment without being under the heavy moderating and panoptic gaze of their lawyers or the court, the couple gets to accuse and insult each other while reminiscing about the past. The empty room feels claustrophobic as insults get hurled, and they pin each other down with their emotional baggage. The space between them signifies unbelievable emotional separation that adds to the essence of the film. 

Without embellishments, the room is a “transitional” space, according to Baumbach. He says, “They’re on a journey, in a way, and they’re passing through these spaces to try to get to someplace that I think, at this point in the movie, feels almost impossible, but is some place of communion.”

Brimming with pain and sadness, it was, according to Baumbach, the most “difficult scene” that he ever shot yet the “most rewarding”. It was “carefully choreographed” while giving the actors ample space to improvise. Charlie and Nicole’s expression of grief and anger is physical- they purge their emotions while letting go of a gush of tears that might make the viewers pretty uncomfortable due to the realistic misery and sorrow that permeates the film. 

After their fight is over, Nicole holds Charlie close, which shows them trying to establish a connection yet again despite their differences. It is intimate, delicate, fragile and tender. As Baumbach says, “love exists in every scene”. 

Watch Marriage Story on Netflix now! 

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