Forty years after Kramer vs. Kramer took two of the most intense actors in Hollywood (Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman) and pitted them against each other in the story of a marriage gone south, writer-director Noah Baumbach has put his own imprint on the divorce genre with Marriage Story starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.
Set to debut on Netflix and in select theaters this fall following a festival-circuit run through Venice, Toronto, and New York, Marriage Story "is a love story that reveals itself within the breakdown," said Baumbach in a statement on Tuesday, released in conjunction with the film's initial two trailers, each told from the perspective of the central couple. "With these companion trailers, I wanted to show the relationship through the eyes of both characters. There are many sides to every story, and the movie embraces these different viewpoints in order to find the shared truth."
A child of divorce himself, Baumbach has tackled the topic in his work before, most notably in The Squid and the Whale, which offered a semi-autobiographical take on his own life and his parents' marriage. That same eye for the personal has carried over to Marriage Story, which stars Driver as Charlie, a theater director, and Johansson as Nicole, an actress and his main collaborator. Baumbach was married to actress Jennifer Jason Leigh from 2005 through 2013. Like the characters in Marriage Story, Baumbach and Leigh had one son together.
"Because I've gone through a divorce and also been through it as a child, there are things from my experience that, of course, I could draw from," Baumbach previously told Indiewire. "But it also gave me a real opportunity to talk to friends of mine. I mean, so many people have gone through this experience, and it's not spoken about a lot." (Baumbach is currently in a relationship with fellow filmmaker Greta Gerwig; the couple has a son together.)
Previously, more details about the project were released by the New York Film Festival, which will screen Marriage Story as its centerpiece film next month: "Noah Baumbach's new film is about the rapid tangling and gradual untangling of impetuosity, resentment, and abiding love between a married couple negotiating their divorce and the custody of their son. Adam Driver is Charlie, a 100-percent New York experimental theater director; Scarlett Johansson is Nicole, his principal actress and soon-to-be L.A.-based ex-wife. Their 'amicable' breakup devolves, one painful rash response and hostile counter-response at a time, into a legal battlefield, led on Nicole's side by Laura Dern and on Charlie's side by 'nice' Alan Alda and 'not-so-nice' Ray Liotta. What is so remarkable about Marriage Story is its frank understanding of the emotional fluctuations between Charlie and Nicole: they are both short-sighted, both occasionally petty, both vindictive, and both loving. The film is as harrowing as it is hilarious as it is deeply moving. With Merritt Wever and Julie Hagerty as Nicole's sister and mom, and Azhy Robertson as their beloved son, Henry."
Watch the trailers for Marriage Story above and below.