Directed and produced by Noah Baumbach, this is a film about a couple going through the exhausting process of divorce.
Nicole is an actress and Charlie is a theatre director. They have a son Henry. The film opens up by Nicole’s and Charlie’s note in which they have written good things about each other. Nicole disagrees to read that out loud in front of the divorce mediator as it was embarrassing for her although Charlie agreed to read. Nicole was offered a part in a television pilot so she moves to LA in West Hollywood at her mother’s place with Henry where she always wanted to stay. After a suggestion from a friend she hires, Nora who is a family lawyer and when Charlie visits her in LA giving her the news of winning a MacArthur grant she congratulates him and gives him the divorce notice.
After approximately a month when Charlie was in New York, Nora calls him warning him that he needs to reply the notice as soon as possible otherwise Nicole will get Henry’s custody. In search of a lawyer Charlie went to Jay, a renowned family lawyer but since he had his own dirty ways of fighting and his fees were high, Charlie heads to LA and hires Mr Bert, a family lawyer who according to Charlie understood his pain. Charlie didn’t want to go to the court so his lawyer arranges a meeting with Nicole and her lawyer after which Charlie realised that he was inefficient therefore he fires him and hires the lawyer Jay whom he met in New York. During the court hearing, both the lawyers bring deep secrets of both of them in front of the court. Nicole goes to Charlie’s house to have a healthy discussion since the court case was becoming really dirty. At that time they engage in a heated argument. Nicole blames Charlie for being selfish so much so that he never cared about her feelings and never took her opinion into consideration. Charlie says that he hates Nicole so much that he wants her to die after which he breaks down and Nicole consoles him. The court judgement comes in the favour of Nicole with 55% custody given to Nicole although she wanted it to be equal. After a year Charlie visits Nicole and family in LA saying that he will now be staying in LA for some time. That day Nicole tells Charlie to take Henry with him even after it was her day with Henry.
Both Nicole and Charlie respected each other off the court and never wanted to insult each other in anyways. Although the circumstances made them do things which they would never think of doing otherwise.
The film shows both the sides of stories with equal importance. There are different times in the film in which you would feel inclined towards Nicole and after a few minutes, you would be inclined towards Charlie. It is better if you remain neutral and take it with ease.
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver have given impressive performances in all the intense and light scenes.
If the director wanted he could have given the film a different take with both the partners fighting endlessly in court without having even a seed of respect for each other and going to any extent to win the case but instead he chooses to show a different side. He shows the trauma with which people go through when a marriage breaks and how families suffer during this time.
The film gives an important message to always respect each other’s opinions and choices in order to have a healthy relationship and communicate efficiently without any scope of any misunderstanding.
By- Preeti Dalal