We’re excited to share that our therapist Nora Dankner was recently featured in Business Insider responding to Noah Baumbach’s film Marriage Story from the perspective of a couples therapist who works with partners who are considering or going through a divorce. Nora specifically addresses what the film represents accurately about divorce, as well as what it skips over.
Marriage Story focuses on Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johanson) as they navigate divorce, as well as co-parenting their son Henry. One aspect of divorce that Nora asserts the film gets right is that an imbalanced relationship, in which one partner’s interests get served more than the other partner’s, is a frequent cause for divorce. For example, Nora notes that Nicole “says she should’ve communicated her desires more, but you find out, as the movie goes on, she has, but [Charlie] wasn’t receptive or didn’t take them seriously.”
Nora also observes that the film faithfully shows how partners can sometimes assume that divorce will play out just like the culture of the marriage. In the case of the couple in Marriage Story, the marriage seemed to serve Charlie’s wishes and therefore, he assumed an amicable divorce would too. “In the marriage, he saw her as an extension of himself,” Nora explains. “He was controlling all the decision making. He thought they would have a divorce that wasn’t acrimonious because he thought they agreed more than they actually did.”
While the film gets a lot correct about divorce, Nora notices that it overlooks the challenges of navigating co-parenting in the depiction of Charlie and Nicole’s relationship with their son. “Custody gets a lot more complicated in real life…You have to work out splitting time [with your child], which they skimmed over, and figuring out how to do that is hard and up for debate. No model of how to do it is perfect,” says Nora.