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Why Is Scarlett Johansson Always in Sad Divorce Movies?

Why Is Scarlett Johansson Always in Sad Divorce Movies?

Photograph: Shutterstock, Warner Bros. Pictures, Everett Collection

Scarlett Johansson is the star of the current year’s huge, lovely separation film, Marriage Story, which is up for six Golden Globes this Sunday. One of those is a selection for Johansson, who plays Nicole, an entertainer and the possible ex of Adam Driver’s Charlie, a New York theater chief.

The two on-screen characters are extraordinary in the film, however when I plunked down to watch Marriage Story, I couldn’t shake the inclination that I’d seen Johansson do this previously: Her hair was unique and now she had a horrible child, yet something felt recognizable. I couldn’t put my finger on it until one day, while viewing a Marriage Story clasp of Johansson moving — set to the sound of a Celebrex business — I reviewed another piece of unusual bopping around she did in Lost in Translation. And afterward it hit me, the inquisitive through line of Scarlett Johansson’s profession: She is a regular vessel for separate.

In her movies, Johansson has a wide range of conjugal issues. She has been a separated from individual; somebody thinking about separation; somebody whose character enables another character to process their separation. She’s a most loved of producers who — maybe seeking after some purge — address their very own divisions by making a motion picture about it.

Marriage Story is our latest bit of proof. Executive Noah Baumbach has denied that the film is personal, however its likenesses to his very own life are uncanny: His union with entertainer Jennifer Jason Leigh finished after she sought legal separation following the introduction of their child. That is fundamentally Marriage Story, which winds up being less about Nicole and progressively about how Charlie deals with his new, separated from life.

Where have we seen this previously? You will scarcely believe: Spike Jonze’s Her, which is about a desolate author who is tragic about his separation. He purchases an AI program named Samantha (Johansson) that he begins to look all starry eyed at. Samantha helps drag our saint out of his downturn and acknowledge his partition, and afterward vanishes from the plot. Her is a self-portraying venture by Jonze, about — you got it — his separation, a feature snatching split from Sofia Coppola that happened 10 years sooner.

This carries us to our third bit of proof: Lost in Translation. It’s the principal movie coordinated by Sofia Coppola following her separation from Jonze in 2003. In it, Johansson is Coppola’s surrogate: a calm, reflective courageous woman disappointed in her new union with a daffy, superstar picture taker, whose character, Coppola has stated, depends on Jonze.

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Why Johansson picks films about awful and tragic relationships I couldn’t let you know. Likely, it’s one of sporadic actorly decisions that happen to mean a pattern, similar to how Emilia Clarke’s motion picture beaus consistently pass on, or how Robert Pattinson is continually stroking off in his movies. It may have something to do with her very own history: Her folks split when she was a high schooler, and she’s been separated from herself (she was, indeed, given the content for Marriage Story amidst a detachment from her subsequent spouse).

Maybe it’s no fortuitous event that Marriage Story, Her, and Lost in Translation are three of her best exhibitions. At the point when she picks jobs that mirror her own life — which we as a whole know doesn’t generally occur — she’s ready to persuade us that there’s something complex happening in any event, when she’s consigned to a supporting job, as in Marriage Story, or is a strict immaterial voice, as in Her. She even does it during the huge lumps of Lost in Translation where she just gazes out windows. It’s conceivable that the genuine explanation she picks these jobs is basically that she exceeds expectations in them.