For those of you who have not seen Noah Baumbach’s heartbreaking and compassionate story of a divorce — Marriage Story — I would suggest you not read any further because this piece contains something in the way of a spoiler.
Marriages are difficult; they need a lot of work, like any other relationship. And when they fall apart, the kid(s) and memories become collateral damage. However, once the ugliness is through and if there was ever any love between the two partners, they try to maintain some sort of harmony, a hope that not everything has to be over. A sequence towards the end of Netflix’s Marriage Story speaks volumes of that very hope.
Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver) have parted ways. They have signed the divorce papers after the ugly blame game in the courts. The resentment that they once harboured against each other has somehow evaporated over time, and it is this reconciliation that we see in the concluding sequence of the film.
Charlie is visiting his son at Nicole’s place post their separation. He finds him reading a letter that Nicole had penned to Charlie, which we were told of at the beginning of the movie. Charlie, who himself reads the letter for the first time, comes to know what Nicole truly feels for him. Charlie chokes when he reads aloud how immediately Nicole fell for him and how her heart will always love him in some capacity, even when loving him doesn’t feel like the ‘right’ thing to do. Later, Nicole sees Charlie and her son read the letter together and she sobs silently, standing at the doorway. Post this incident and a small party at home, she lets Charlie take her son for the night even though it was her turn to spend time with their child. And just before the closing credits start rolling, we see Nicole help tie Charlie’s shoelaces. A small, perhaps even an insignificant act at the surface, but it tells us how despite being apart and despite being divorced, Charlie and Nicole will always have each other’s backs. That they both have decided to forgive the past, if not completely forget it.
Sequence of note | Kill Bill Vol 1 | October | Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone | Masaan | Love Actually | Taxi Driver | Tamasha | La La Land | Swades | 96: Trisha tells a story | Rang De Basanti’s ‘Koi Future Nai’ | Inglourious Basterds’ strudel scene | Delhi 6’s Dil Gira Dafatan | The eerie conversation from Get Out
Marriage Story is currently streaming on Netflix.