"So we've decided to just lean right into that whole 'Oscars So White' thing, huh?"

MARRIAGE STORY

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. COUNSELOR’S OFFICE

ADAM DRIVER and SCARLETT JOHANSSON are seeing some kind of DIVORCE THERAPIST.

ADAM DRIVER

What I love about Scarlett: she’s such an imaginative and daring actress. She’ll play anything, a computer, a snake, a Japanese lady even if she really shouldn’t. She says she’d play a tree and I bet she would even if everybody told her not to. She’s up for anything, no matter how gratuitously sexual, any super-tight costume or awkward sexy pose you could think of. Hell, she even had a romance subplot with Billy Bob Thornton when she was sixteen, which feels like it shouldn’t even be legal.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

What I love about Adam: he’s such a driven artist, almost an insane workaholic in fact, who seems to have a new project out every time you turn around, and all of them really prestigey semi-artsy stuff you can feel smug for having seen, except for when he does a Star Wars and everybody screams about it until the internet explodes. He has a voice like a sexy headcold, and his gigantic schnozz can be used as emergency shelter during sudden downpours...

(sighs)

Okay, what the hell is this half-assed creative writing assignment for, except to provide this movie with a shade of tragic counterpoint?

THERAPIST

Sue me, I thought the audience could do with a few minutes of sweetness before the two-hour bitter shitshow we’re about to plunge them into. I mean this is a 2019 movie called “Marriage Story”, we all know this is gonna be bleak as FUCK.

(grumbles)

Tell you what, in the forties a movie called “Marriage Story” would have been a seriocomic slice-of-life starring Ginger Rogers and Bob Hope, and it would have been charming. CHARMING, I SAY!

ADAM DRIVER

All right then, let’s get on with Noah Baumbach’s trenchant drama about a talented director’s vitriolic divorce from his actress wife Jennifer Jason LeUHHH I MEAN SCARLETT JOHANSSON OF COURSE

GRETA GERWIG

Hey, as long as none of this is about me we’re golden.

INT. NEW YORK THEATER

ADAM is directing SCARLETT in a PLAY.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

(presenting crown to statue of horse)

Now in the garden. Now in the gymnasium. Now in the secret places. The corrupt places.

(sets fire to small birdhouse)

Ne cherche pas le chauve-souris frugivore. Breaker breaker, fox in the henhouse, ten seven.

(dumps bucket of live snakes on self)

ADAM DRIVER

No! More esoteric! Less coherent! I’m getting dangerously close to understanding what the fuck is going on, this is supposed to be ART damnit!

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Oy. I can’t wait to ditch this pretentious bullshit and move to LA, where I am going to star in a TV show which honestly looks exactly as pretentious and bullshitty.

ADAM DRIVER

Ugh. LOS ANGELES. You’re crazy if you think I’m gonna let you take our kid away from New York and raise him in that culturally bankrupt gang-riddled smog-infested hellhole where everybody’s a phony and there’s no parking and you can’t get a good pizza and

(rants)

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

I seriously can’t believe that the one big conflict of our whole relationship and breakup is something that would comfortably fit in a stand-up routine from 1987. But hey, at least we’re being civilized about it!

ADAM DRIVER

Of course! We’re mature adults, we can figure out this breakup without getting the lawyers involved, right?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Absolutely! Totally on the same page here, I mean lawyers, pfft, all they do is ruin everything, who needs em.

SCARLETT’S FRIEND

Hey Scarlett, would you like the phone number of the most cutthroat ice-cold attack lawyer in the world?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

YES FUCKING PLEASE

INT. LAURA DERN’S OFFICE

SCARLETT goes to meet with divorce lawyer LAURA DERN.

LAURA DERN

Hi there, it’s great to meet you! Can I get you anything? Coffee? Water? Your husband’s head on a pike? Muffin?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

A muffin would be wait a minute, what did you just-

LAURA DERN

(produces plate of muffins)

Here ya go! Now, I hear you’re having marriage troubles. Just how may I help disembowel your horrible jerk husband and scatter his entrails to the four corners of the globe?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Hold your horses, lady. I’m just looking for a quick and pain-free resolution to our predicament okay, I don’t want Adam destroyed or anything.

LAURA DERN

Of course, nobody said you did! But just for funsies, what do you say you spend the next ten minutes describing in detail every single thing you hate about him.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

(bites lip)

I dunno... maybe that’s not such a good-

(snaps)

HE NEVER LISTENED TO ME ALL HE SAW ME AS WAS AN EXTENSION OF HIS EGO I SACRIFICED MY MOVIE CAREER SO HE COULD

(rants)

(rants)

(rants)

AND IN CONCLUSION THAT ASSHOLE CAN EAT MY FARTS, LET’S ANNIHILATE HIM

LAURA DERN

Lovely.

INT. SCARLETT’S MOTHER’S HOUSE

SCARLETT is staying with her mother JULIE HAGERTY and her sister MERRITT WEVER.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Now, Adam’s about to come round to pick up our son and, unbeknownst to him, the divorce papers I’m about to slap him with. Mom, remember, don’t be nice to him! I dumped him, so you and he can never be friends again, understood?

JULIE HAGERTY

But... he’s the father of my grandchild? I mean, shouldn’t I be on friendly terms with somebody who’s going to be family for the rest of my life?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

No! I’d much prefer it if you were cold and aloof to him forever and made every family gathering an uncomfortable chore, thanks. Oh and Merritt, you seem to get on well with him too, so I’ll need you to be the one who throws those divorce papers in his face just to fuck up that relationship as well. I WILL BURN THIS FAMILY TO THE GROUND IF I HAVE TO.

MERRITT WEVER

That sounds horrible. Can I at least lighten the mood a bit by playing this whole scene with an unusual amount of kooky sitcom-style humor?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Eh, sure, fuck up the tone and confuse everybody if you want, I don’t give a shit. Just remember, I want to soften the blow for Adam a bit by warning him in advance about-

ADAM DRIVER

(walking in)

Huh? What are these divorce papers lying around on the kitchen bench, sitting prominently where they’d be like the first thing somebody saw when they entered the house?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

...Yeah I guess I half-assed that one, didn’t I.

(shoos Julie and Merritt out)

Uh, hey, Adam. You know how we said we should do our divorce through ruthless high-priced lawyers and be real litigious about it?

ADAM DRIVER

I thought we said we’d use NO lawyers and NOT be litigious.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Is that where we landed on that? Weird. Anyway, I have a lawyer, and you’ve got like a week to get one too or I’ll win by default and get everything I ask for.

ADAM DRIVER

Oh? That’s not so bad. I mean we were talking earlier about how we’d already agreed on how we were going to split everything, so I can trust you to not make any unreasonable demands.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Pshh, that was before Laura got into my head. Now I want, to quote her, “everything that fucker has ever touched, including his balls”. So hurry up and get a lawyer! Except on Laura’s advice I already talked to pretty much all of them, creating a conflict of interest which legally means that nobody can represent you and you’re totally boned BWA HA HA HA HA

ADAM DRIVER

Wow, this stopped being amicable REAL fast. Fine, I’ll find a lawyer somewhere. I hope they don’t have the heart of a sociopath underneath their charming exterior like Laura...

INT. RAY LIOTTA’S OFFICE

ADAM is meeting with DIVORCE LAWYER RAY LIOTTA.

RAY LIOTTA

I must crush Scarlett. I must rend her limb from limb. I will not stop until we have taken everything from her, her reputation, her hope for the future, her belief in the existence of goodness. FUCK SCARLETT. FUCK THAT BITCH.

ADAM DRIVER

...Okay wow, this is MUCH worse.

RAY LIOTTA

Also my fee will be everything you own, plus your soul. I hate both of you so much! Fucking die already!

ADAM DRIVER

(fleeing)

Fuck this! There’s gotta be at least one single divorce lawyer out there who’s also a halfway decent human being, right?

A random passing INVISIBLE FAIRY presumably HEARS ADAM’S WISH and promptly summons ALAN ALDA from the land of make-believe.

ALAN ALDA

Hello! I’m the closest thing to a nice divorce lawyer that has ever existed. I used to be an entertainment lawyer, it’s only just recently that I decided to come out of retirement and start doing the laws of the family.

ADAM DRIVER

Isn’t it just called family law?

ALAN ALDA

(taking notes)

“Family... law.” Thanks, I’m learning so much! Now, let's go and show Scarlett and Laura that nice guys can finish first, whattaya say?

(enters mediation meeting)

Hey guys! How about we all work together and see if we can sort out this pesky little custody issue today? I made ginger snaps!

LAURA DERN

Aw, that was sweet of you!

(pulls Alan's pants down)

(shoves him into girls' bathroom)

ALAN ALDA

Er, yes, well. As I was saying, I know Adam and Scarlett's son was born in LA and currently goes to school there and has most of his friends and family there, but if you'd do me a favor and ignore ALL of those things pretty please-

LAURA DERN

(upends trash can onto Alan)

(pushes him out front door, sending him rolling into traffic)

ALAN ALDA

I think I'm wearing her down.

ADAM DRIVER

Yeesh, maybe it was a bad idea to hire an adorable fluffy gerbil to fight a bengal tiger for me. I wonder if Ray is still available, maybe he'd settle for only half of my soul...

ALAN ALDA

Wait, you don't want to do that! Look, how's this: we acknowledge that your position is super weak and winning the custody thing is an unrealistic goal, yield on that one issue now rather than fighting it out for like a year and then losing anyway. Then since that was the only sticking point this whole shitshow can be wrapped up by the end of the week. You both stop bleeding money, your son's life gains some semblance of stability, and all it really costs you is a bit more time in Los Angeles!

ADAM DRIVER

...RAAAYYYY TAKE ME BACK PLEEEAAASE

INT. COURTROOM

LAURA and RAY go head-to-head in COURT.

LAURA DERN

Your honor, I'd just like to point out that my client is one hundred percent responsible for Adam's career success, and if she'd never agreed to lend her star power to his shitty basement productions then right now he'd probably be directing a high-school production of Rent with all the references to AIDS edited out. She should get all of his money!

RAY LIOTTA

You might have a point... in OPPOSITE LAND. The truth is, if my client hadn't deigned to cast some no-name teen-movie reject, right now she'd trying to line up an audition for the role of "Hot Waitress" in Birdemic 3: The Birdening. HE should get all of HER money!

LAURA DERN

Now listen, I'm not making any accusations here, but it is true the police have never officially ruled Adam out as a suspect in the Zodiac killings. Just saying.

RAY LIOTTA

Oh yeah, well Scarlett's a witch! She put a hex on me! I've gone blind and my crops are blighted, we should burn her for heresy!

LAURA DERN

I hear what you're saying, but the fact remains that Adam's momma's so fat you can only take her photo in Panorama mode.

RAY LIOTTA

Well Scarlett's momma's so ugly that the Museum of Natural History dismissed her as a hoax.

ADAM DRIVER AND SCARLETT JOHANSSON

(quietly resisting the urge to pull out their own hearts and die)

INT. ADAM'S PLACE

SCARLETT goes to see ADAM at his new LA RESIDENCE.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Sooo. This whole thing has turned into a fucking nightmare.

ADAM DRIVER

Yeah, I'm starting to think the whole "avoid lawyers" idea was the right idea all along. Wanna say fuck those guys, and just hash this thing out ourselves like civilized adults?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Like we should have in the first place, sure! Without Laura and Ray and their vicious muckraking, we should be able to discuss our relationship rationally.

(pause)

So the first thing we should agree on is that you were a shitty husband and solely responsible for everything that went wrong in our entire marriage.

ADAM DRIVER

...Okay. Okay, I think I can accept that statement, if we just refine it a little with the addendum that BULL FUCKING SHIT, I BENT OVER BACKWARDS FOR YOU BUT YOU WERE ALWAYS AN UNPLEASABLE DRAMA QUEEN

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

I WOULD'VE BEEN PLENTY PLEASABLE IF YOU EVER CARED ABOUT ANYBODY OTHER THAN YOURSELF YOU SELFISH SELF-ABSORBED SELF-INVOLVED AAAAARRGGHH NOW YOU'VE GOT ME SAYING "SELF" SO MUCH IT'S LOST ALL MEANING FUCK YOU

ADAM DRIVER

YOU KNOW WHAT I ONLY JUST REALIZED I HATED OUR ENTIRE MARRIAGE, EVERY SINGLE SECOND I SPENT WITH YOU WAS LIKE BEING EATEN ALIVE FROM THE INSIDE OUT BY FIRE ANTS

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

I NEVER EVEN WANTED TO GET MARRIED, I HATED YOU FROM THE FIRST SECOND I SAW YOU, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE YOU DUPED ME INTO OUR WHOLE RELATIONSHIP VIA VOODOO MAGIC OR SOMETHING

ADAM DRIVER

I HATED YOU FIRST please somebody stop this YOU INTOLERABLE PIECE OF SHIT oh Jesus this is horrible

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

I HATE YOU INFINITY seriously why can't I stop screaming

ADAM DRIVER

I WANT YOU TO DIE I WISH I HAD THE GUTS TO STAB YOU RIGHT IN THE okay okay shit, God, no. Fuck. For the record, I've been pre-regretting everything I've said for like ninety percent of this conversation.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Same. Want to act like this never happened, and let the lawyers handle things after all?

ADAM DRIVER

Yes please. At least those guys aren't capable of feeling shame.

INT. COURT

Finally the CASE is mercifully SETTLED.

LAURA DERN

So we won! We got the settlement that Alan told Adam to take like half the movie ago. Which is pretty much the same agreement that you guys probably would have landed on if you'd just worked it out between you in the first place. But hey, if you'd done that, you wouldn't have gotten to fork out about half of everything you own in legal fees!

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

I feel like you could have gone easier on him. The part where I get to punch him in the nuts five times over the course of the rest of his life just seemed mean.

LAURA DERN

I tried to get you ten, but they were playing hardball. But look, the important thing is, I win. I beat Adam, the little punk bitch, I made him fucking bleed, HA HA HA HA HAAAA.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

I regret ever having met you.

She goes home to CELEBRATE with JULIE and MERRITT.

JULIE HAGERTY

Woo, you are the victor! And now: an elaborate Sondheim musical number!

(sings)

MERRITT WEVER

Yes, let us happily sing and dance, that seems like a scene that belongs in this movie!

(sings)

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

You guys never quite figured out what tone we've been going for, did you. Oh well.

(sings)

ADAM DRIVER

Meanwhile, I am the loser. My dreams are shattered. I will sit somberly in a bar and ponder the meaning of it all.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Ah yes, that seems more our speed.

ADAM DRIVER

And now: an elaborate Sondheim musical number.

(sings)

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

wait what the fuck is this

ADAM DRIVER

(sings heart-rending ballad about the pain of love and the beauty of heartbreak)

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

...and how is it the highlight of the whole movie this is so fucking weird

EXT. SCARLETT'S HOUSE

A year later, ADAM and SCARLETT and their SON are all doing FINE.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Yes, I've gotten my own house, I've gotten a new partner, and my TV career is really taking off! I've even started directing! That's right, no longer just seen as Adam's muse, I've now become a successful director in my own right, isn't that great?

GRETA GERWIG

(narrows eyes)

ADAM DRIVER

Meanwhile I've... started to learn to tolerate LA! I guess I'll have to take what I can get.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

But mainly, after all the gut-wrenching emotional turmoil we've been through this movie, we seem to actually be getting along pretty well! Families break up and it can be messy and painful, but in the end there is life after divorce, isn't this such a powerful and modern message for a movie to end on?

ADAM DRIVER

You do realize this is pretty much exactly the ending to Mrs. Doubtfire, right?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

...Huh, I suppose so. But who cares, we're moderately happy, and we've left the days of ruthless divorce attorneys behind us! Never again will strangers argue on our behalf about which one of us is the asshole in our relationship!

THE INTERNET

(cracks knuckles)

Watch and learn.

(flamewars)

END.

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