Marriage Story

2019 film directed by Noah Baumbach

Marriage Story is a 2019 film about a married couple going through a coast-to-coast divorce.

Directed and written by Noah Baumbach.
Where there's a love, there's a way.

Nicole Barber

  • I never really came alive for myself; I was only feeding his aliveness.

Charlie Barber

  • [Reading Nicole's letter to Henry] I fell in love with him two seconds after I saw him. And I'll never stop loving him, even though it doesn't make sense anymore.

Nora Fanshaw

  • People don't accept mothers who drink too much wine and yell at their child and call him an asshole. I get it. I do it too. We can accept an imperfect dad. Let's face it, the idea of a good father was only invented like 30 years ago. Before that, fathers were expected to be silent and absent and unreliable and selfish, and can all say we want them to be different. But on some basic level, we accept them. We love them for their fallibilities, but people absolutely don't accept those same failings in mothers. We don't accept it structurally and we don't accept it spiritually. Because the basis of our Judeo-Christian whatever is Mary, Mother of Jesus, and she's perfect. She's a virgin who gives birth, unwaveringly supports her child and holds his dead body when he's gone. And the dad isn't there. He didn't even do the fuckin'. God is in heaven. God is the father and God didn't show up. So, you have to be perfect, and Charlie can be a fuck up and it doesn't matter. You will always be held to a different, higher standard. And it's fucked up, but that is the way it is.

Bert Spitz

  • Getting divorced with a kid is one of the hardest things to do. It's like a death without a body.
  • I want you to know that eventually this'll all be over, and whatever we win or lose, it'll be the two of you having to figure this out together.
  • And keep in mind, you'll have to pay for her lawyer. [...] Well, at least part of her. It doesn't make sense, does it? I mean, you're doing this because you love your kid. And in doing so, you're draining money from your kid's education.


  • Ted: Criminal lawyers see bad people at their best, divorce lawyers see good people at their worst.
  • Frank: Charlie, what you're going through now is going to be horrible, but it will be over. Fuck as many people as you can right now. Women, men. Take what I said seriously.
  • Sandra: Even though I am 64 and have a dead gay husband, I manage to get up every day, live my life, and feel pretty good about myself.


Charlie Barber: Will we go to court?
Bert Spitz: No. No, we don't want to go to court. Courts in California are a disaster, and that's just how we have to think about it. I'm not sure these are my glasses. Where are you living while you're out here?
Charlie Barber: I'm in a hotel right now.
Bert Spitz: A hotel doesn't look good.
Charlie Barber: To who?
Bert Spitz: The court.
Charlie Barber: [confused and a bit worried] Y-You just said we weren't going to go to court.
Bert Spitz: [explaining it better] No, of course. Of course. We have to prepare to go to court hoping we don't go to court.

Bert Spitz: You know what this is like? This is like that joke about the woman at the hairdresser, she's going to Rome. You know this?
Charlie Barber: I don't.
Bert Spitz: This woman is at her hairdresser, and she says, "I'm going to Rome on Holiday." And he says, "Oh, really? What airline are you taking?" She says, "Alitalia." He says, "Alitalia? Are you crazy? That's the worst – that's terrible. Don't take that. Where you gonna stay?" She says, "I'm gonna stay at the Hassler." "The Hassler? What, are you kidding? They're renovating the Hassler. You'll hear hammering all night long. You won't sleep. What are you gonna see?" She says, "I think I'm gonna try to go the Vatican." "The Vatican? You'll be standing in line all day long. You'll never get to see anything."
Charlie Barber: [annoyed] I'm sorry, Bert, am I paying for this joke?

Nicole Barber: [while arguing with Charlie] You're being so much like your father.
Charlie Barber: Do not compare me to my father!
Nicole Barber: I didn't compare you to him. I said you were acting like him.
Charlie Barber: You're exactly like your mother. Everything you were complaining about her, you're doing. You're suffocating Henry.
Nicole Barber: First of all, I-I love my mother. She was a wonderful mother.
Charlie Barber: I'm just repeating what you told me.
Nicole Barber: Secondly, how dare you compare my mothering to my mother! I may be like my father, but I am not like my mother!
Charlie Barber: You are! And you're like my father! You're also like my mother! You're all the bad things about all of these people! But mostly your mother. When we would lie in bed together, sometimes I would look at you and see her, and just feel so gross.
Nicole Barber: I felt repulsed when you touched me!
Charlie Barber: You're a slob. I made all the beds, closed all the cabinets, picked up after you like an infant!
Nicole Barber: [under] The thought of having sex with you makes me wanna peel my skin off.
Charlie Barber: You'll never be happy. In LA or anywhere! You'll think you found some better, opposite guy than me, and in a few years, you'll rebel against him, because you need to have your voice. But you don't want a voice! You just want to fucking complain about not having a voice!
Nicole Barber: I think about being married to you and that woman is a stranger to me! I mean, we had a... child's marriage...
Charlie Barber: You've regressed. You've gone back to your life before you met me. It's pathetic.
Nicole Barber: People used to tell me that you were too selfish to be a great artist. And I used to defend you! They were absolutely right!
Charlie Barber: All your best acting is behind you. You're back to being a HACK!
Nicole Barber: You gaslighted me! You're a fucking villain!
Charlie Barber: You wanna present yourself as a victim because it's a good legal strategy? Fine. But you and I both know you chose this life! You wanted it until you didn't! You used me so you could get out of LA.
Nicole Barber: I didn't use you.
Charlie Barber: You did, and then you blamed me for it. You always made me aware of what I was doing wrong, how I was falling short! Life with you was joyless!
Nicole Barber: What, so then you had to go and fuck someone else?!
Charlie Barber: [referring to Mary Ann] You shouldn't be upset that I fucked her, you should be upset that I had a laugh with her!
Nicole Barber: Do you love her?!
Charlie Barber: No! But she didn't hate me. You hated me!
Nicole Barber: You hated me. You fucked somebody we worked with.
Charlie Barber: You stopped having sex with me in the last year! I never cheated on you!
Nicole Barber: That was cheating on me!
Charlie Barber: But there's so much I could've done! I was a director in my twenties, who came from nothing and was suddenly on the cover of fuckin' Time Out New York! I was hot shit, and I wanted to fuck everybody and I didn't! And I loved you and I didn't wanna lose you! But I'm in my twenties! And I didn’t wanna lose that too, and I kinda did! And you wanted so much so fast! I didn't even want to get married, and... FUCK IT! There's so much I didn't do!
Nicole Barber: [chuckles sarcastically] Well, thanks for that!
Charlie Barber: You're welcome!
Nicole Barber: I can't believe I have to know you FOREVER!
Charlie Barber: [punches the wall in a rage] You're fuckin' insane! AND YOU'RE FUCKING WINNING!
Nicole Barber: Are you kidding me?? I wanted to be married! I'd already lost! You didn't love me as much as I loved you!
Charlie Barber: [pause] What does that have to do with LA? [Nicole stares at him, incredulous] What??
Nicole Barber: You're so... merged with your own selfishness, you don't even identify it as selfishness anymore! You're such a DICK!
Charlie Barber: EVERY DAY I WAKE UP AND I HOPE YOU'RE DEAD! Dead, like, if I could guarantee Henry would be okay, I'd hope you get an illness, AND THEN GET HIT BY A CAR AND DIE!
[He sinks down, weeping. Nicole walks over and gently puts her hand on his shoulder.]
Charlie Barber: [through tears] I'm sorry...
Nicole Barber: [comforting him] Me too.

Nora Fanshaw: Where do you want to live now, doll?
Nicole Barber: Well, I'm here now, obviously. I don't know if the show will get picked up. It feels like home. It is home. It's the only home I've ever known without Charlie.
Nora Fanshaw: You want to stay here?
Nicole: Charlie's not going to want that. He hates LA.
Nora Fanshaw: We're interested in what you want to do. What you're doing is an act of hope. You understand that?
Nicole: Yeah.

Charlie Barber: We didn't have a deal; it was something we discussed.
Nora Fanshaw: So it's a deal when it's something you want. And a discussion when Nicole wants it?

Nicole Barber: Anyway, shall we try this?
Charlie Barber: OK. [pause] I don't know how to start.
Nicole Barber: Do you understand why I want to stay in LA?
Charlie Barber: No.
Nicole Barber: Well, that's not-Charlie, that's not a useful way for us to start...
Charlie Barber: I don't understand it.
Nicole Barber: You don't remember promising that we could do time out there?
Charlie Barber: We discussed things. We were married, we said things. We talked about moving to Europe, about getting a sideboard or what do you call it, a credenza, to fill that empty space behind the couch. We never did any of it.

Nicole Barber: You should've considered my happiness too.
Charlie Barber: Come on, you were happy. You've just decided that you weren't now.

Nicole Barber: You shouldn't have fired Bert!
Charlie Barber: [smugly] I needed my own asshole.

Henry Barber: [not noticing the blood] Dad, are you OK?
Charlie Barber: [lying] Yeah, I'm just tired.
Henry Barber: Dad, did she like us?
Charlie Barber: [exhausted] Yeah, she thought we were great.


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Marriage Story