Marriage Story at HOME

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor
HOME

Marriage Story at HOME Manchester, Manchester 22 November — 12 December 2019 Tickets from £7.50 — Book now

Marriage Story opens with married couple Scarlett Johannson’s actress Nicole and Adam Driver’s theatre director Charlie listing, in voice-over, each other’s positive quirks and personality traits. Charlie says that what he really loves “is that she really listens when somebody is talking,” before going on to say that she’s his favourite actress. Nicole loves that Charlie can darn socks and enthuses about his affection for all aspects of fatherhood, tantrums and all – their 8-year-old son Henry is played by Azhy Robertson. Writer-director Noah Baumbach, responsible for such acerbic, independently-minded dramatic comedies as Greenberg and Frances Ha, layers images of domestic bliss and an uplifting score by Randy Newman.

The rug is quickly pulled. We’re in couple’s therapy and this is a mandated exercise, one that Nicole can’t even complete. The couple are divorcing, you see, and while they’d like things to stay amicable, they are about to get ugly. Charlie is a superstar New York theatre director. His work is in an experimental, physical mode, and he is about to receive a prestigious McArthur Genius Grant. Nicole is their company, Exit Ghost’s lead actress, she’s eschewed the lights of Hollywood and brightened Charlie’s star in doing so. Fading affections and an incident of infidelity lead to a fracture in their relationship. Native Angelino Nicole wants to spread her wings, understandably, and there are still offers coming from L.A.

Nicole switches coasts, taking Henry with her and setting the stage for an almighty, bitter war. Those who have ever bore close witness to divorce will latch onto a familiar set of grievances and dynamics. There are competing Halloween costumes, new homes, new toys and new partners. As mentioned, it is ugly stuff, but it is also petty and human. That Baumbach takes the material and pounds it into something that is so pleasurable to witness, moment-to-moment, is remarkable. Sure, there are bouts of screaming and tears – both leads deliver performances of impressive depth – but from a scene where Nicole’s sister (Merritt Wever) attempts to serve Charlie divorce papers, to a bloody slip up in front of a social worker, Marriage Story is laugh out loud funny.

There is screwball comedy in its DNA. Baumbach has a deep affection for the classic 1940s sub-genre, an affection that is particularly evident in his 2016 Greta Gerwig vehicle Mistress America. Marriage Story’s whirling, pinball scenes between its central divorcing couple, their lawyers and family members are amongst the funniest of his career. Of course, screwball was often the comedy of remarriage; concerned with witty, warring spouses who come to realise that nobody else can keep up. There are elements of that here, both Nicole and Charlie are certainly exceptional people: talented, intelligent…on paper, a great match.

The amicable separation becomes nasty when the lawyers are involved, or perhaps the introduction of lawyers reveals wars that should have been fought earlier. Nicole enlists Laura Dern’s battle-hardened Nora while Charlie hires Alan Alda’s overly genial Bert – “Am I paying for this joke?” he enquires during one rambling segue – before bringing in Jay, an expensive big-gun played by Ray Liotta. Dern particularly impresses, channelling the same ferocious energy that made her Big Little Lies character such a fierce icon of female solidarity. Both Charlie and Nicole bleed money in lengthy scenes of negotiation in which the most minor infractions are weaponised, and for a time it becomes difficult to see the good that ever existed in their relationship.

Work. Money. Kids. Their problems are not unusual ones. Baumbach reportedly drew inspiration from his own breakup with actress Jennifer Jason Leigh. There are certainly enough small details here to evidence his familiarity with the minutiae of divorce in these circles of society. This is not a film that will send you back glumly into the night though. From the idealised ecstasies of monogamy that open the film, through bitter realities and spiteful acrimonies, Marriage Story concludes on hopeful notes, not that this couple are meant to be, but that people can move on and ultimately, be ok.

Marriage Story at HOME Manchester, Manchester 22 November — 12 December 2019 Tickets from £7.50 Book now

Performances

Date
Time
Session Features
22 November 2019
1:30pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

22 November 2019
3:00pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

22 November 2019
5:45pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

22 November 2019
8:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

23 November 2019
1:35pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

23 November 2019
3:20pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

23 November 2019
5:45pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

24 November 2019
1:00pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

24 November 2019
2:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

24 November 2019
5:40pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

24 November 2019
8:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described, Captioned

25 November 2019
1:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

25 November 2019
3:15pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

25 November 2019
5:50pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

25 November 2019
8:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

26 November 2019
1:15pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

26 November 2019
3:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described, Captioned

26 November 2019
5:35pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

26 November 2019
8:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

27 November 2019
1:30pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

27 November 2019
3:00pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

27 November 2019
5:40pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

27 November 2019
8:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

28 November 2019
12:45pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

28 November 2019
3:30pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

28 November 2019
8:10pm

Accessibility Features

Audio Described

29 November 2019
5:50pm — 8:10pm
29 November 2019
8:10pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on at HOME Manchester

Where to go near Marriage Story at HOME

Manchester
Restaurant
Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
Manchester
Music venue
The Ritz

The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

Homeground
Manchester
Event venue
Homeground

Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

Manchester
Café or Coffee Shop
Burgess Cafe Bar
at IABF

Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

Rain Bar pub in Manchester
City Centre
Bar or Pub
Rain Bar

This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

What's on: Cinema

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free entry
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Until
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KaiJuly at Showroom Cinema

Showroom present a celebration of all thing’s kaiju, of giant monsters, rubber suits, of nuclear horrors, mystical fantasy, and royal rumble free-for-alls. The Godzilla franchise is recognised as the longest continuously running film franchise in history, with 33 Japanese films to its name, and 5 US productions.

from £5.00

Culture Guides