This post contains spoilers.
I enjoy lifestyle stories as much as I enjoy trending and unfolding news and so when I came across the Marriage Story on the Atlantic Blog, I quit scrolling.
Just as simply as the title suggests, this story is about a marriage whose beautiful story has been captured by moving cinematography. The lead characters are seeking out a divorce which in itself is not ugly, but whose involved players, the lawyers, make it unfeeling and uncomfortable to watch maybe because it becomes a stark reminder of the mortality of all our adult relationships and marriages and how they could potentially be reduced by many factors including the law.
The Inhumane Side of the Law
Charlie’s, ( the husband ) first choice of a lawyer is quick to remind Charlie that he charges $950 per hour and then also adds as a reminder that the firm’s assistant attorney charges $450 by the hour and would probably be the best person to direct less significant questions to, which means quite obviously that this lawyer is not quite about the client’s needs but the monetary potential of the client. The lawyer is aggressive and combative in his suggestions and recommendations to Charlie and on many occasions forgets or uses an entirely different name in place of the real name of the would be ex wife. Clearly the entire atmosphere in this lawyer’s office is more business like over compassionate or empathetic. He even calls Charlie’s would be ex a bitch which Charlie quickly addresses and corrects. To accentuate the scene, the camera catches a brief image of a pouf in one of the lawyer’s accent chairs which reads Eat, Drink and Remarry. He zones in on the use of exaggerated details to try to incriminate Charlie’s would be ex wife with the view of winning the case. He says to Charlie that they aren’t going to win if Nicole, the wife of Charlie is portrayed as the perfect mother. Quite ironically, Nicole’s lawyer, a female, also on her part encourages Nicole to tone down and eliminate her flaws entirely because society will definitely support the stereotype of the flawless mother and the neglectful father.
The evaluator is another character whose physical and symbolic presence reminds me of the irony of allowing an external entity to judge and make conclusions on a life a person has lived a lifetime under the lens of whatever internal biases, botched perspectives and wavering objectivity. The evaluator represents the law which without a true knowledge of a person can alter their life in a minute.
Charlie and Nicole’s marriage is generally rooted in love as seen in their civility, hesitation to hurt each other ( they openly discuss their frustrations and desires on how to make the divorce process painless ) and little acts of kindness including her tying his shoe laces and her cutting his hair in one of the scenes. Their divorce is happening because of a change in direction of professional interests and with it, changed preferences of a home address. The therapist in this article is right in his assertion that they still do love each other. The film starts out on several running scenes of the couple’s life together with Nicole’s voice over narrating the strengths of the couple and how they help each other through other areas that are out of their core strengths. The film’s ending scenes show a moving scene in which their son discovers and asks Charlie to help him read the very journal Nicole’s voice over narrated from in the opening scenes about the couple’s life together. At this point, the divorce is already concluded yet Charlie’s discovery of his wife’s journal moves him to tears. The last line he reads before the scene closes is ‘ and I’ll never stop loving him‘.