MARRIAGE STORY


Who’s in it?
Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Alan Arkin.


The Basics
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson play a couple, Charlie and Nicole, whose marriage is on the rocks. Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach is a reality-check on the state of modern relationships and how hard it is to keep them together. The movie is an unsappy and unshowy look at modern marriages and relationships. It is a brutal film that explores everything from the flowery beginnings of a relationship to the cruel divorce battles with wolfish lawyers. Here, Laura Dern plays Scarlett Johansson’s lawyer who makes her see her soon-to-be-ex as a bad guy and the latter needs to come up with cartoonish and exaggerated habits of her husband. Welcome to the real world, Charlie and Nicole!


What it’s About
Marriage Story is about divorce. But, it is also a feel-good movie that looks at the positive aspects of a divorce. Noah Baumbach shows us that love exists after a break-up. There is nothing too contrived and sentimental in the movie and it is very subtle in its examination of relationships. But, if you don’t find your heart break at the closing scene, you must be made of stone. Adam Driver’s impromptu performance of “Being Alive” towards the end perhaps sums up the film as it talks about how a partner can be both a blessing and a curse.


The Verdict
This is a Noah Baumbach film and that means it takes a scathing look at family and relationships. Besides the precise direction and plot, Marriage Story also benefits hugely due to excellent performances by both the leads, and also Laura Dern as the hell-raising divorce lawyer. Don’t miss this one!


THE LIGHTHOUSE



Who’s in it?
Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson.


The Basics
Director Robert Eggers is a visionary, like his counterpart Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar). They are a new breed of horror-auteurs who have the capacity to chill and torment our souls with lasting sickening dread. Personally, The Lighthouse is my favorite film of the year just like Eggers’ The Witch was my favorite film of 2016.And it also turned out to be a favorite of far too many critics and audiences worldwide. The Lighthouse uses a spooky lighthouse in a stranded island as a setting for the downward spiral of sailors Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Oh, and what a descent it turns out to be!


What it’s About
The Lighthouse is a movie that visually, mechanically, and most importantly, convincingly, portrays the physical and psychological collapse of souls who are stranded for a long time. Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) is the alpha-male and captain who must lead wicky Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson). The movie shows how day-to-day activities mingled with tentacles, mermaids, one-eyed seagulls and extremely hard liquor messes with the mind and body as both men near their tragic fates. The mind can only take so much and Robert Eggers plays with that idea frantically in crisp vintage Black and White shot on 35mm film. The actors, meanwhile, seem to revel in their extremely weird and volatile roles as they circle the distraught pinnacles of lowliness and loneliness.


The Verdict
The Lighthouse is my favorite film of 2019 mostly because it reached the darkest recesses of my mind and lingers there even as I write about it presently. It should definitely do the same to you too! Also, never mind the Oscars; Kudos to Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson on delivering the best and coolest performances of the year.