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167. Marriage Story – This Just In (#225)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with guests Tara Brady and Donald Clarke, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.

Charlie and Nicole had an ideal marriage, until they didn’t. Unsatisfied with her marriage, Nicole decides to separate from her husband Charlie. The couple agree to keep things amicable, but the situation quickly escalates as Charlie finds him completely unprepared for the process that will follow.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 225th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Marriage Story

Towards the end of Marriage Story, divorced dad Charlie Barber decides to check in on his son, Henry.

Charlie has been absent from his son’s life for quite some time, the toll of familial separation weighing heavily on him. Arriving home before his ex-wife Nicole, he finds a strange man in his life. His former mother-in-law has accepted his replacement. When Nicole arrives, the conversation makes it clear just how quickly her life has moved on without him. When somebody mentions that she has been nominated for a prestigious award, Charlie can’t even guess what she was nominated for.

Marriage of inconvenience.

It is Halloween. The family are getting ready to go out together. They have theme costumes. They are going as Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is itself a reflection of the level of subtlety at which the film is pitching itself. Of course, Charlie was an unexpected arrival; whether because he failed to signal ahead or simply because he has been so completely erased from the life of his ex-wife and son that nobody gave any serious consideration to the possibility that he might show up. Hastily, one character suggests an improvised costume. “You can be a ghost.”

This is simultaneously the best and worst moment in Marriage Story, and generally indicative of how the movie operates.

Getting off-track.

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