5 Movies to Watch After Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story

Image by CJ from Pixabay

Nicole asked for some good recommendations for one of 2019's best loved gems, Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story. Much loved for its performances, screenplay, and well-placed humorous moments, Marriage Story presents a tricky match opportunity. While it clearly displays the ugliness and pain of divorce for all sides, it's far from a depressing film. Viewers may feel a strange kind of contentment after the last screen fade and a feeling that all is still right with the world.

Nicole especially loved the authentic relationships, the ties to the theater, and the way the couple clearly cared for one another, despite the anger both of them felt. For this list, I looked for relationship-based films that inspired the feeling that we are spying on the characters, rather than watching a story orchestrated to entertain. In these movies, the people on screen have conflicts but retain a strong connection.

John Carney's Once (2007)
I wanted to find at least one film that had singing or performing in it -- to replicate Nicole's enjoyment of Adam Driver's musical number -- but in a way that seemed natural, rather than staged. In this love story peppered with musical interludes, we follow a nameless Guy and Girl through the streets of Dublin for a short time they spend together making music and recording a studio album. The songs they sing swell with love, pain, joy, and brokenness, the exact combination found in Marriage Story. Starring two professional musicians, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the soundtrack alone is worth the watch.

Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Not only does Kramer vs. Kramer have an eerily similar plot to Marriage Story, but it also was heralded by critics for its authentic portrayal of divorce proceedings and the way the script revealed much about the characters beyond the actual words. This legal drama represented the shift that began to take place towards movies that reflect normal people doing normal things, instead of heroic or glamorous things.

Maiwenn's My King/ Mon Roi (2015)
Marriage Story shows a married couple on the brink of divorce who are mad as hell at one another yet clearly still care. That's the same exact combination to be found in this French drama films, depicting an albeit much more toxic and co-dependent relationship. Tony has an accident while skiing. During rehabilitation, her therapist encourages her to think about what she's running from, as she believes the injury to be psychosomatic. Tony thinks back on her thrilling yet troubled relationship with her ex-husband, Georgio. In moments that are neither glamorous nor melodramatic, a picture of their intoxicating love is painted.

Drake Doremus' Like Crazy (2011)
In Marriage Story, Charlie and Nicole love one another but both choose themselves over the happiness of their partner. American Jacob and British Anna face the same dilemma. When the couple meets cute at a class they both attend in England, sparks fly. But after overstaying her visa on a stateside visit to squeeze out a few more moments with Jacob, Anna is forbidden from entering American soil for an extended period of time. Both halves of the couple have to decide how much they are willing to give up to be together. Time jumps show us the carefully curated moments of their relationship and leave us with a bittersweet feeling. 

Alexandre Lehmann's Blue Jay (2016)
Although the plot of these movies is very different, both stories are told with in a natural way, without appearing as if they are fabricated to be "story ready." Former high school sweethearts Jim and Amanda meet up in their small town 20 years after they split up and lost touch. As they revisit the landmarks of their romance and make their way to Jim's childhood home, they talk, remember the good times, and with deliberate pacing, finally talk about the reasons they broke up. With camera work that feels almost like a documentary, we spy on their day together. The chemistry between the two leads is clear and palpable. This was one of my favorite movies of 2016, and its practically perfect in every way. 

Would you like me to create a movie list for another movie? Fill out my Movie Matchmaker request form. 

Comments