Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’ Selected as 2019 New York Film Festival Centerpiece Film

The Netflix film, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, tracks an "amicable" divorce that devolves spectacularly.
marriage story
"Marriage Story"
Wilson Webb

The 2019 New York Film Festival has announced its Centerpiece selection for this year’s edition of the festival: Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. The Netflix drama will celebrate its New York premiere at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on Friday, October 4. “Marriage Story” will be released in select theaters and on Netflix later this year.

It’s the second Netflix film to join the festival’s 2019 lineup, with Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” announced earlier this week as the festival’s opening night pick. The film will premiere at Venice in August, followed by its Canadian premiere at TIFF in September.

In a statement, the festival said Baumbach’s new film “is about the rapid tangling and gradual untangling of impetuosity, resentment, and abiding love between a married couple negotiating their divorce and the custody of their son. Adam Driver is Charlie, a 100-percent New York experimental theater director; Scarlett Johansson is Nicole, his principal actress and soon-to-be L.A.-based ex-wife. Their ‘amicable’ breakup devolves, one painful rash response and hostile counter-response at a time, into a legal battlefield, led on Nicole’s side by Laura Dern and on Charlie’s side by ‘nice’ Alan Alda and ‘not-so-nice’ Ray Liotta.”

It is a film that hinges on “its frank understanding of the emotional fluctuations between Charlie and Nicole: they are both short-sighted, both occasionally petty, both vindictive, and both loving. The film is as harrowing as it is hilarious as it is deeply moving. With Merritt Wever and Julie Hagerty as Nicole’s sister and mom, and Azhy Robertson as their beloved son, Henry.”

NYFF festival director Kent Jones added of the film, “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. 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.”

Baumbach, who previously debuted his very first film at the festival, added in his own statement, “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.”

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FLC Director of Programming, and Florence Almozini, FLC Associate Director of Programming.

Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening Night.

This year’s festival will run September 27 – October 13. More slate announcements will be released in the coming weeks.

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