The five-part collection employs an fascinating and considerably puzzling gadget, in every episode displaying the actors earlier than filming begins below Covid protocols, strolling by way of the set surrounded by masked crew members. It’s a approach of creating the theatrical qualities of the presentation, though other than appreciating the additional diploma of problem, basically an pointless gadget.
The premiere then proceeds to introduce Mira (Chastain) and Jonathan (Isaac), married for nearly a decade with a younger daughter.
The introduction comes by the use of an interview with a grad pupil engaged on her thesis, exposing tensions throughout the marriage regardless of their seemingly outward happiness. He’s an educational who has lapsed in strict adherence to his Jewish religion, whereas she’s a profitable businesswoman whose profession — extra profitable than his — has taken priority over his.
Levi considerably contemporizes the plot, however the strains and stresses related to sustaining a wedding — and doubtlessly ending one — are all on show, as info drips out concerning the relationship and the small print behind Mira’s half-spoken sentences and pained expressions.
The performances are uncooked and starkly introduced. In sports activities phrases, Isaac and Chastain go away all of it on the sector — and did their half to advertise the present with a viral red-carpet second on the Venice Movie Pageant — in what is basically a two-character piece with a number of cameos, resembling Corey Stoll and Nicole Beharie as one other couple (with their very own vital points) that comes over for dinner.
The place “Scenes From a Marriage” falters all through is within the wild nature of the swings in Mira and Jonathan’s interactions and habits, making hairpin turns from civil to hostile to sexual and again once more. It’s exhausting to get misplaced within the drama when the dialogue and conditions are this stagy and manicured.
Like HBO’s latest revival of “In Therapy,” the confined motion and minimal forged makes this a very shrewd addition to the lineup strictly as a logistical matter, one that features Bergman’s son, director Daniel Bergman, among the many govt producers together with the 2 stars.
Nonetheless, the art-house credentials of the identify apart, “Scenes From a Marriage” has the conspicuous really feel of a kind of vainness tasks through which premium networks and streaming providers permit expertise to indulge, with the marquee worth of the casting greater than sufficient to justify the cube roll.
At its core the collection gives the not-quite-revelatory reminder that marriage may be exhausting and unraveling one tends to be even tougher, particularly when kids are concerned.
Nonetheless, it’s potential to admire the artistry and exhausting work that went into this manufacturing with out feeling actually engaged by it, both emotionally or intellectually. In that sense, the “We’re simply placing on a present” framing may need served a objective, although not essentially in the best way supposed.
“Scenes From a Marriage” premieres Sept. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.
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