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Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’ Tapped For New York Film Festival Centerpiece Selection

Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach, starring
Wilson Webb

Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” will be the Centerpiece selection at the 57th New York Film Festival. The news comes just a day after the festival announced that Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” will be its opening night film. Both pictures are being released by Netflix, giving the streaming service two of the most prominent slots for movies it hopes will go the distance this awards season.

“Marriage Story,” a look at a couple going through a divorce, stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Despite their determination to keep their break-up amicable, Charlie (Driver) and Nicole (Johansson) quickly find themselves in an often pitched legal and custody battle. The cast also includes Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Laura Dern, Merritt Wever, Julie Hagerty, and Azhy Robertson.

The movie is said to be something of a companion piece with Baumbach’s “The Squid and the Whale,” his critically acclaimed 2005 drama about a family divided by the dissolution of a marriage. That film looked at the breakup from the perspective of the kids, this one examines it more from the point-of-view of the adults. Since that film came out, Baumbach got divorced from Jennifer Jason Leigh, but he made it clear in a recent interview with IndieWire that “Marriage Story” isn’t pseudo-autobiographical even if it is informed by his experiences.

“Because I’ve gone through a divorce and also been through it as a child, there are things from my experience that of course I could draw from,” Baumbach told IndieWire. “But it also gave me a real opportunity to talk to friends of mine. I mean, so many people have gone through this experience, and it’s not spoken about a lot.”

“Marriage Story,” which is slated to appear at several fall festivals, including Toronto and Venice, will screen at Alice Tully Hall on Oct. 4. It will be released in select theaters and on Netflix later this year.

Film Festival Director Kent Jones was effusive in its praise for the film, saying it “has an emotional complexity that’s worthy of Bergman.”

“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,” he added.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 17-day New York Film Festival is considered to be an essential stop for films that have awards ambitions. In the past, the festival has screened such Oscar-winners as “Life of Pi,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “Bridge of Spies.” Baumbach’s films include “Frances Ha,” “Mistress America,” and “The Meyerowitz Stories.”

“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,” said Baumbach in a statement. “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.”

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