One of the front runners in tonight’s academy awards is Marriage Story. Having watched Marriage Story on the weekend of its Netflix release, I feel the award is justified but at the same time, reveals a lot of what is wrong with the culture of Hollywood movie-making.
I was raised by divorced parents, so Marriage Story resonates with me strongly. I appreciate the films emotional realism (the nuanced expressions of the characters making their outbursts all the more vivid and powerful), its moral ambiguity (the story never being that simple) and deft portrayal of the intricate emotional web of romance. By the end of the movie, my face was wet with tears.
And yet, something about the characters’ lives is just a bit too good to be real. The repeated jaunts from coast to coast. Nicole’s (Johanssen’s Character’s) career as a Hollywood B-list actress, with a scandalous reputation. Nicole and Charlie’s effortless coasting through the most gilded hillside and beachfront neighborhoods of Los Angeles, as if money is never an actual issue.
“In LA, there is space,” everyone tells Charlie. On what planet are these living? LA has one of the lowest homeownership rates in the country.
The root of the issue with Marriage Story is a little thing called representation.
Its not just about race (as popularly perceived) but about class and geography. By confining its gaze to a privileged creative perspective, Marriage Story, like many other Hollywood movies loses its power and its appeal.