Noah Baumbach-directed Netflix drama aims for Oscars with Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta among the cast.

By Joey Nolfi
July 30, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT
Wilson Webb/Netflix

Marriage Story will write another chapter of its awards-bound tale at the New York Film Festival.

Film at Lincoln Center — formerly known as the Film Society of Lincoln Center — announced Tuesday that the Noah Baumbach-directed Netflix drama will hold its New York premiere on Friday, Oct. 4 as the annual festival’s Centerpiece selection.

The film follows a former couple — New York experimental theater director Charlie (Adam Driver) and his L.A.-bound ex-wife, an actress named Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) — as their amicable post-marital ties begin to unravel amid increasingly strenuous divorce proceedings, which include negotiating custody of their son, Henry (Azhy Robertson).

Leading the charge into the legal battlefield are Nicole’s attorney, played by Laura Dern, and Charlie’s legal team, led by Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. Merritt Wever and Julie Hagerty costar as Nicole’s sister and mother, respectively, while acclaimed, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Robbie Ryan (The Favourite) shot the project.

Netflix

According to the film’s synopsis, the ensuing ping-pong match is one of short-sighted, vindictive pettiness as well as warm affection across moments of hilarity and harrowing drama.

“What amazed me about Marriage Story is the way that Noah keeps the many conflicting emotions between his characters flowing into and around and under and over each other, so beautifully that the film achieves the condition of music,” said Kent Jones, the New York Film Festival director and selection committee chair, in a statement. “In fact, it actually flowers into song in two of the film’s loveliest and most surprising moments. Marriage Story is a heartbreaker, it’s very funny, and it has an emotional complexity that’s worthy of Bergman.”

Added Baumbach: “I grew up coming to the New York Film Festival with my parents. And it’s where my first film, Kicking and Screaming, premiered 24 years ago. I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud that Marriage Story has been selected as Centerpiece of the NYFF. The 14-year-old me’s mind is blown; the 49-year-old me’s mind is also blown.”

Regarded as one of the world’s most influential fall film festivals, the Manhattan-based event typically launches eventual Oscar contenders into the awards race. Past Centerpiece selections that have gone on to win or be nominated for multiple Academy Awards include No Country for Old Men (2007), Changeling (2008), Precious (2009), Steve Jobs (2013), and last year’s Roma

Ahead of its theatrical and Netflix bows later this year, Marriage Story will world-premiere at the 2019 Venice Film Festival in Italy, as its New York Film Festival screening is listed simply as a New York premiere. It marks the streaming service’s second major title to hit this year’s New York Film Festival, as Film at Lincoln Center announced Monday Martin Scorsese‘s long-awaited gangster drama The Irishman will kick off the festival as the opening night film.

Marriage Story will hold its Canadian premiere as part of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in September.

The 2019 New York Film Festival runs for 17 days, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 13. Tickets go on sale to the general public Sept. 8, while VIP passes are on sale now.

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