(Drama) – 136 minutes
Premieres on Netflix Friday 6 December
An interesting departure for Star Wars and Avengers leads, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson who play married couple Charlie and Nicole. There are just a handful of films that come to mind that approach the same subject – War of the Roses and Kramer vs Kramer for example yet divorce is an ordeal many married couples are destined to inevitably go through if the statistics are anything to go by.
We’re taken deep into the relationship of Nicole and Charlie which opens during the final stage of deterioration in a marriage counselling session. The material is presented with such depth and mindfulness, exploring the effect on those around the warring couple – from the impact and adjustment affect on their child, to the relationships and dynamics between in-laws and work colleagues.
It’s done with such realism. The descent into a series of heated confrontations is perfectly faceted and then inverted to capture different renderings of the light as we come to understand Charlie’s obliviousness to his wife’s needs throughout the marriage and his denial during the negotiation process. Nicole’s calm and neutral demeanor turns out to be one of indifference and surrender as we understand the pent up resentment for putting her career on hold.
Every crack and fracture that has accumulated throughout the years of the marriage culminate in one of the film’s most powerful scenes where the hurt explodes into fury with both empathising with one another yet still on opposite sides of the courtroom battle lines. Such mastery in the writing where some of the strongest moments aren’t in the written dialogue but the comprehensively realised characters on the canvas embodied by two stellar performers who slide into these roles perfectly.
Cover Image: Andrea Raffin