The new “Marriage Story” movie is a false picture of divorce

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

I think Sean McDowell is the best scholar to recommend to people who are interested in getting better at defending their faith. He has a splendid wide-reaching worldview, and conservative positions on controversial issues that other apologists won’t touch. He tweeted out a very interesting article from Suzanne Venker, where she reviews a new movie.

You might remember that Suzanne Venker is a pro-marriage writer who thinks that radical feminism has harmed women, and discouraged men from marrying. Here is what she had to say about the new feminist movie “Marriage Story” in The Federalist.

“Marriage Story” is billed as an intense drama about a stage director [Charlie] and his actor wife [Nicole] “who struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.” Although the couple has an 8-year-old son, the focus of the film is… about Nicole’s feelings, Nicole’s choices, Nicole’s needs, and Nicole’s desires. Charlie just goes along for the ride. What choice does he have? Based on a 2017 report by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld, this story seems to align with divorce trends, as women initiate 69 percent of divorces in the United States.

Indeed, “Marriage Story” is a predictable feminist screed. Its message couldn’t have been more glaring if it tried: Marriage is a jail sentence for women. If you’re not happy, leave. Oh, and take the kid with you. And while you’re at it, you might as well sabotage your husband’s livelihood, forcing him to uproot the life you both built and move across the country in order to be able to see his son for half the amount of time he normally would, thereby irrevocably altering the course of this father-son relationship — particularly since Nicole’s new man has entered the equation.

[…]What you won’t learn is that “Marriage Story” beautifully demonstrates the madness of modern-day childhood. No one’s supposed to mention that because to look at what’s happened between Charlie and Nicole through Henry’s eyes would destroy the narrative. To focus on what writer and director Noah Baumbach wanted to — “telling a love story by doing it in the course of a divorce” — it is crucial to dismiss Henry’s needs, because to a child, divorce is no love story.

By the way, speaking of children’s rights, parents should definitely read Katy Faust’s latest article in The Federalist.

I wanted to suggest a much better movie about divorce than “Marriage Story”. When I was young, I went through this phase of wanting to grow up very fast. I just could not stand being around people my own age, with their obsessions with popularity and fun. So, I got myself a white collar job and started renting every classic movie in the movie rental place. Two of my favorites were “Kramer vs Kramer” and “Ordinary People”. They made much better movies back then. Kramer vs Kramer is the one about divorce which I think accurately portrays the effects of divorce on children.

Here is the summary from the far-left Wikipedia: (I’m leaving out the ending)

Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) is a workaholic advertising executive who has just been assigned a new and very important account. Ted arrives home and shares the good news with his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) only to find that she is leaving him. She leaves Ted to raise their son Billy (Justin Henry) by himself. Ted and Billy initially resent one another as Ted no longer has time to carry his increased workload, and Billy misses his mother’s love and attention. After months of unrest, Ted and Billy learn to cope and gradually bond as father and son.

Ted befriends his neighbor Margaret (Jane Alexander), who had initially counseled Joanna to leave Ted if she was that unhappy. Margaret is a fellow single parent, and she and Ted become kindred spirits. One day, as the two sit in the park watching their children play, Billy falls off the jungle gym, severely cutting his face. Ted sprints several blocks through oncoming traffic carrying Billy to the hospital, where he comforts his son during treatment.

Fifteen months after she walked out, Joanna returns to New York to claim Billy, and a custody battle ensues. During the custody hearing, both Ted and Joanna are unprepared for the brutal character assassinations that their lawyers unleash on the other. Margaret is forced to testify that she had advised an unhappy Joanna to leave Ted, though she also attempts to tell Joanna on the stand that her husband has profoundly changed. Eventually, the damaging facts that Ted was fired because of his conflicting parental responsibilities which forced him to take a lower-paying job come out in court, as do the details of Billy’s accident.[3] His original salary was noted as “$33,000 a year” (equivalent to $114,000 in 2018), whereas he was forced to admit that his new salary was only “$28,200” (equivalent to $97,000 in 2018), after Joanna has told the court that her “present salary” as a sportswear designer is “$31,000 a year”.[3]

The court awards custody to Joanna, a decision mostly based on the Tender years doctrine. Ted discusses appealing the case, but his lawyer warns that Billy himself would have to take the stand in the resulting trial. Ted cannot bear the thought of submitting his child to such an ordeal, and decides not to contest custody.

I come from a legal immigrant family of non-whites, and there just WAS no divorce anywhere in our family. We’re half Muslim and half Hindu, and we just don’t divorce. There was a lot of fighting in my family growing up, but divorce was out of the question for my parents. But I remember having to deal with the violent tempers of boys in my public schools who had divorced parents. Divorce really hurt those kids. That’s why I try to blog about it here – the Bible is against divorce, and I want to explain to Christians why God’s rules against divorce ought to be respected.

I’m not going to link to studies here about how divorce affects children, because I’ve done that in other places. I just wanted to let you know that feminism is strong in our culture, and they want to make divorce into a creative adventure. Don’t let movies sway you away from what the Bible teaches. And when you defend what the Bible teaches about divorce, make sure you have the facts about radical feminism’s promotion of divorce and how divorce affects men and children.

9 thoughts on “The new “Marriage Story” movie is a false picture of divorce”

  1. Haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t intend to. However, I’d be willing to bet that hardly 20 minutes pass before Nicole utters the words “abusive husband” and “toxic relationship.”
    I’ve been doing a lot of research on this topic for a series of video essays I’m making called Defending Traditional Marriage. In the course of my research, I’ve reached out to women who divorced their husbands and asked for whatever details they were willing to share. So far I’ve noticed a common trend:

    100% of the women I’ve asked about their divorces claimed that their ex-husbands were “abusive” and that the relationship was “toxic.”

    In fact, I found a supposedly Christian author named Gretchen Baskerville who had written a book called “Life Saving Divorce.” In the course of our twitter exchange, she told me that at least 40% of divorces are life saving (i.e. the woman may have died if she stayed in the marriage). When I asked her if she could provide a citation for this claim, I was promptly blocked, and a chorus of women congratulated her for ignoring my “obviously disingenuous” question.

    Do rank and file observers really not find this at all suspicious? Are we seriously prepared to believe that 69% of divorces are being initiated by women due to their husbands engaging in criminal conduct that may have ended their lives? Further, if abuse really is what’s causing divorce, how is it that many of these same women still allow their ex-husbands to maintain some visitation rights? Would you really allow your child to spend time with a dangerous criminal, even if he was your ex-husband?

    Of course, the reason for this is because the feminists have successfully hijacked the domestic violence industry and defined abuse as anything that makes a woman feel unhappy. Now women happily embrace this definition, acting as though their selfish embrace of personal feelings over the well being of their children is something that should be celebrated.
    Ending no fault divorce would be a big step towards revering this trend, but what concerns me the most at the current moment is the unwillingness of churches to publicly shame women who initiate these frivolous divorces. Anyone who even suggests that women might be lying about their husbands being abusive is accused of “victim blaming” and the church moves on, pretending that the divorce must be the husbands fault.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “…the feminists have successfully hijacked the domestic violence industry and defined abuse as anything that makes a woman feel unhappy.”

      If the husband tries to exercise even a little bit of authority/headship that must be REALLY abusive. Probably means he is going to kill her.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The churches in this nation are lost, lukewarm, unsanctified, and filled with Jezebels.

      If they won’t stand up against child sacrifice in the womb, they sure as Hell won’t stand up against divorce, its harm to the children, and the ensuing adultery upon remarriage.

      God HATES divorce, and a lot of church-going women (and many men too) are going to be surprised on Judgment Day. The millstone verse in Luke 17:2 applies nearly as much to divorce harming children as it does to abortion murdering children.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am a child of divorce. It hurt like hell. Even though I was 15 years old. It destroyed my family and I’ve never been the same since.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am so sorry, Mark!

          I know “children” in their 30’s who are traumatized by their parents divorcing.

          Even my far-Left unbelieving parents never divorced. Of course, they were also equally yoked – in the negative sense.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Something I’ve tried to live by in my 36 years of being (very happily) married:

            The greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Yeah. In retrospect, I wasted a lot of my younger years with women who didn’t like good men and didn’t want marriage and children. I realized that I never saw my mother being kind to my Dad or us, and it caused me to not prefer women who did want good men and who did want to raise children.


    3. FORTY PERCENT of divorces are life-saving??? What a load of horse-hockey. More accurately, at least 40% of divorces are selfishness-saving.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Every girlfriend I ever had said that about their ex/exes. Same with every female I know.

      I have never known a woman who left a relationship for a legitimate reason. The fact they weren’t single for long speaks volumes.


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