The view of Jordan Searles’ N.Y. Times op-ed piece about Marriage Story (11.12) is that Robert Benton‘s Kramer vs. Kramer, to which Noah Baumbach‘s film has been compared, presents a more progressive view of how a responsibility-accepting husband-father (i.e, Dustin Hoffman‘s Ted Kramer) should behave.
Her opinion is basically that Baumbach favors Adam Driver‘s less-apologetic Charlie Barber character over Scarlett Johansson‘s Nicole Barber.
Excerpt: “Baumbach casts Laura Dern‘s point of view in a harsh light, with her feminist speeches framed like villain monologues. In the last act of the film, Nora announces that she cut a deal with Charlie’s lawyers that gives Nicole custody 55 percent of the time whenever Charlie is visiting Los Angeles. ‘I didn’t want him to be able to say he got 50-50,’ she says, gloating.
“Even though Marriage Story is ostensibly on Nicole’s side, she isn’t given the same sympathy-churning emotional beats afforded to her ex-husband. Charlie never apologizes for his behavior, though he does perform ‘Being Alive,’ from the Stephen Sondheim musical Company. In the show, the song finds the lead character at first rejecting commitment, but soon realizing that everything that makes a relationship challenging can also be fulfilling. Mr. Driver’s performance of the song is stirring, but its context feels unearned.”
HE to critic pally: “Are you sensing a shifting of the winds on Marriage Story?” Critic pally to HE: “Totally. It’s being taken down by the wokesters, and by the fact that it’s gone into the Netflix Bermuda Triangle.”
I ran a “Marriage v. Kramer” piece on 9.3.19.