‘Scenes From a Marriage’ review Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac bring raw intensity to HBO’s Ingmar Bergman reboot

The five-part series uses an interesting and somewhat confusing device, each episode showing the actors before filming began following Covid protocol, walking through the set surrounded by non-fiction members. masked crew. It’s a way to establish the theatrical quality of a presentation, although in addition to appreciating the additional level of difficulty, it’s essentially an unnecessary piece of equipment.

The premiere then went on to introduce Mira (Chastain) and Jonathan (Isaac), who have been married for nearly a decade with a young daughter.

The opening part is an interview with a graduate student working on her thesis, revealing marital tensions even though they appear happy on the outside. He was a scholar who did not adhere strictly to her Jewish faith, while she was a successful businesswoman whose career – more lucrative than him – took precedence over him.

Levi muses considerably about the plot, but the stresses and strains involved in maintaining a marriage – and potentially ending one – are all on display, as information drips about the relationship. relationship and details behind Mira’s half-spoken words and distressed expression.

The performances are raw and clearly presented. On the sporting front, Isaac and Chastain left it all on the field – and did their part to promote the show with a viral moment on red carpet at the Venice Film Festival – basically a two-character production with a few guests, such as Corey Stoll and Nicole Beharie as another couple (with important issues of their own) coming to eat dark.

Where “Scenes From A Marriage” falters throughout is the wild nature of the changes in Mira and Jonathan’s interactions and behavior, causing the hairpin to turn from civil to hostile to sexual and back again. once again. It’s hard to get lost in the movie when the dialogue and situations are all stale and manicured.

Like HBO’s recent revival of “In healing,” The limited action and minimal cast make this a particularly edgy addition to a line-up as strict as a matter of logistics, which includes Bergman’s son, director Daniel Bergman, among the producers. executive output with two stars.

The name’s art credentials aside, though, “Scenes from a Marriage” has the conspicuous feel of one of those frivolous projects in which high-profile networks and streaming services allow talent to enjoy, with the great value of casting being more than enough to justify rolling the dice.

At its core, the series offers an unflattering reminder that marriage can be difficult, and that unraveling a marriage tends to be even more difficult, especially when it comes to children.

However, it is possible to admire the art and hard work that went into this production without feeling really attached to it, either emotionally or intellectually. In that sense, the “We’re just demonstrating” framework may have served a purpose, though not necessarily in the way intended.

“Scenes From a Marriage” premieres September 12 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like CNN, is a WarnerMedia unit.


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