Awards Season Party: My Reviews of "Marriage Story" and "Little Women"

Hello, my name is Emily, and I geek out over film history.

 

This is a trait that’s been instilled in me by my family, each in their own special ways. My mom introduced me to romcoms and is always open to watching any children’s films with me when I’m feeling nostalgic. My dad taught me to equally love and be wary of historical dramas and their inaccuracies, and he was the one to introduce me to both James Bond and Star Trek. I’m still a Star Wars fan, though, and an even bigger Indiana Jones fan- I can thank my older brother, Evan, for that. And goofy comedies I often can’t stand are forever linked in my mind with my younger brother, Conner.

 

How I grew to love so many movies outside of these genres and areas? I can’t quite say. Over the past few years, I’ve been creating to-watch lists and exploring recommendations from friends, movies with interesting descriptions or loveable casts, or taking notes from award season. Although each result is opinion-based, it is nice to see a concrete short list of what some view as the best movies of the year, even when I’m not sure if I agree. For this reason, I’ve dedicated myself to a project I’ve never tackled before.

 

I’m going to watch every movie nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year, and review them here- without spoilers, of course.

 

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a professional film critic. I just enjoy movies! The best part about taking in artistic projects is that we don’t have to agree all the time. We may very well have different opinions, and that’s fine! In fact, I’d love to hear them- I love discussing film. With that being said, let’s jump in!

 

Marriage Story

 

Since I’ve been mooching off my parents’ Netflix (thank you guys, real college life hack), I decided to tackle “Marriage Story” first. It’s shorter than “The Irishman,” and going in, I thought it looked like an alright movie- good cast, fairly normal story.

 

“Marriage Story” tells the story of a director in New York and his actress wife (played by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johannson, respectively) as they navigate divorce from opposite sides of the country. It was written and directed by Noah Baumbach, and Driver and ScarJo are joined by the likes of Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta.

 

After taking in all two hours and seventeen minutes of this film, I can honestly say it was better than I expected. It’s not for everyone- it’s a rather emotional movie, but very poignant. I especially enjoyed, along with the rest of America, Driver’s performance, and definitely applaud Baumbach for his ingenious script. Some of the parallels in the movie (every song from the musical Company?) really tug at the heartstrings, and he found ways to add humor to an otherwise upsetting course of events.

 

Favorite Scene: That fight scene. You’ll know.

 

Rating: 7/10

 

Little Women

 

As both an introvert and feminist, if you promise me an a.) movie based on a work of classic literature with a b.) mainly female cast directed and written by c.) GRETA GERWIG I am 150% on board and will rush to theatres. Am I biased as I write this review? Absolutely. Did this film meet my high expectations. No- it exceeded them.

 

“Little Women” is a charming retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s book of the same name, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, the woman behind indie hit “Lady Bird.” The film follows four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, along with their family and neighbors. The cast features Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Timothée Chalamet, and Laura Dern (what isn’t she in?).

 

Before I begin, I’m just going to predict here and now that although I really did love this movie, it won’t win Best Picture. The movies I adore never win, and I feel the Academy will align themselves with something more “edgy.” That being said, this movie deserves every bit of praise it gets. Ronan and Pugh specifically delivered fantastic performances, and got much-deserved nominations for them. The film switches between flashbacks and “present day” scenes, which I thought was perfect for tackling the immense amount of material within the book. Plus, Timothée Chalamet was both very good in his role and, as usual, nice to look at. Everyone in this movie was attractive? Holy cow.

 

There’s so much heart (and heartbreak) in this story and Gerwig phenomenally captured it all. If anything, I wish Meg’s relationship with John Brooke was given more screen time, but, in all honesty, there’s so much story to work with that it’s hard to fit it all in a two hour-ish movie. One final note: I’m still Team Jo when it comes to Laurie. I love Amy, and Florence Pugh is fantastic in that role, but I just- well, there’s nothing I can do about it.

 

Best Scene: A tie: Jo and Laurie’s dancing and Amy’s speech to Laurie about marriage in her studio in Paris

 

Rating: 9/10

 

Thanks for bearing with me! More to come on Best Picture nominees- stay tuned!