Tag Archives: alan alda

MARRIAGE STORY (2019) – My rating: 7.5/10

Marriage Story is a drama written, directed and produced by Noah Baumbach. The film follows a married couple going through a coast-to-coast divorce.
Marriage Story is probably an unlikely scenario for divorce but not impossible.  I was annoyed by their situation because I was hoping for better but didn’t get it.

Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) is a successful theater director in New York City. His theater company is currently producing a play that stars his wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), a former teen film actress. The film delves into happier days when the couple only had good analogies to define each other.  They have a son Henry Barber (Azhy Robertson)  that they both adore.  Suddenly things begin to go sour initiated by Nicole. The couple begins to experience marital troubles, which sends them to see a mediator, who suggests that they each write down what they like about one another. Charlie writes his feelings but Nicole refuses to read hers aloud so they decide to forgo the counseling.

Meanwhile, Nicole is offered a starring role in a television pilot in Los Angeles, and she decides to leave the theater company and temporarily live with her mother Sandra (Julie Hagerty) in West Hollywood, taking the couple’s young son, Henry with her. Charlie decides to stay in New York, as the play is in the process of moving to Broadway. Despite the couple agreeing to split amicably and forgo lawyers, Nicole hires the family lawyer Nora (Laura Dern).  Nicole tells Nora the full story of her relationship with Charlie and how she gradually felt neglected by him and how he rejects her ideas and desires.

Because I’m a happy ending kind of gal, I’m always looking for one.  I truly dislike endings that leave me in tears or unknowing what happened or “make it up yourself”, resulting in open-ended closures.  Marriage Story gave me semi-quasi closure but not the one I was hoping for.  Driver and Johanssen are two of the best actors around and played Nicole and Charlie excellently.  In some parts, the movie was a tad bit boring but was interesting for the most part.  I didn’t really care for their son’s attitude but I think it’s a cultural thing.  I’m not sure what message Marriage Story sends but it was well-acted.  An awful lot of people really liked it and that’s what counts.  Since Marriage Story is airing on Netflix, it’s easy to see it at your leisure, just remember the Oscars are presented on February 9th this year, so you don’t have that much time if you follow the award shows.  Check It Out!

[MARRIAGE STORY is Oscar-nominated for BEST: Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress,  Original Score and Original Screenplay — TOTALLING 6 OSCAR NOMINATIONS]


BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

BridgeOfSpiesIf you’re looking for a good story and with quality acting rolled into an excellent movie, Bridge of spies is it. Tom Hanks has done it again — he manages to get involved with some of the best movies in Hollywood. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the Coen brothers, Bridge of Spies will probably get an Oscar nod. Based on a true story, Bridge of Spies features life in the late 50s when the US was still engaged in a cold war with the Soviet Union and after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for being spies in 1953. Unlike the Rosenberg’s, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) was not a US citizen but from the Soviet Union. He was an artist who lived in Brooklyn. After a search of his room turned up evidence that supported the claim that he was in fact a spy for the KGB, he was arrested and tried as a Russian spy. In good faith, the CIA appointed a top attorney to represent Rudolf named James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a lawyer who specializes in insurance settlements. While no one took the trial or his defense seriously, James Donovan did. Battling to give Rudolf the best defense he could, James was up against anger, threats and violence from everywhere over his representation of the much hated Russian spy. Of course, he lost the trial and the sentence for a death penalty was before Chief Justice Earl Warren (Edward James Hyland).  James ended up going to the judge’s home to convince him to sentence Rudolf to 30 years in prison instead of the electric chair. When asked why, James said, he might come in handy as an exchange one day.  As it turned out, a pilot named Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) was shot down over Soviet territory while taking unauthorized pictures for the military. He was captured and tried. In the meanwhile an American economics graduate student, Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers) visits his German girlfriend in East Berlin just as the Berlin Wall is being built. He tries to bring her back into West Berlin, but is stopped by Stasi agents and arrested as a spy.  This gave the US a lot to negotiate. Again, James was used in this spy scenario to set up meetings and negotiate between Russia, Germany and the US. This is a very touching story as well as enlightening.  There’s a lot of history here.  I think this movie is a hit and worthy of your time and a movie ticket to see it unfold on the big screen.  The cast is brilliant.  Alan Alda plays Thomas Watters, Jr., James Donovan’s boss at the insurance company and Amy Ryan plays Mary Donovans, James’ wife.  Check it out if you can.

[BRIDGE OF SPIES is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Mixing and Original Screenplay]