I think I was putting off seeing Marriage Story because I just didn't need to be depressed. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, the film portrays the dissolution of the marriage of Charlie and Nicole Barber, portrayed by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, who play a New York theater director and a California-born actress who wants to try her hand at Hollywood after a successful New York theater career.
In the first few minutes of the film, I found myself wondering if people not familiar with the New York and Los Angeles artistic communities would find the characters a little bit too self-absorbed to be relatable. But as the film went on, the heart wrenching performances of Johansson and Driver won me over - they strip their emotions down to the bone, and leave it all out there to be examined and dissected.
They are ably supported by Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta - all fabulous as the various divorce attorneys who, to varying degrees, see the proceedings as a game in which the Charlie and Nicole are just pieces to be moved around to their best advantage.
I found Marriage Story to be reminiscent of two of my favorite marriage dissolution movies (which is a pretty odd turn of phrase, I grant you) - Kramer vs. Kramer and Shoot The Moon (an Albert Finney-Diane Keaton drama that does not get enough recognition for how it shows a family torn apart).
Marriage Story - which, it should be noted, is a Netflix production - is tough to watch, but worth it.
I was jazzed to see this week that Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, which I've always thought of as being at least as good if not better than The Godfather and The Godfather, Part Two, is coming back to theaters in a brand new restored print.
A meditation on the nature of privacy - amazingly prescient, considering it was made in 1974 - The Conversation stars the great Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert who finds himself deep in a conspiracy that he cannot even begin to comprehend.
Shot in San Francisco, The Conversation has an amazing cast, a kind of Coppola acting company made up of folks who appeared in other movies he made, including Robert Duvall, John Cazale, Cindy Williams, Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr and Harrison Ford.
It is an American classic, and whether you see it on the big screen when it starts making the rounds next month and through the summer, or just watch it at home, it is definitely worth watching.
My wine of the week - from Oregon, the 2018 Elouan Rosé, which struck me as being fruit-forward without being too sweet. And, like revenge, it is best served very cold.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.