As many people know by now, Marriage Story is about divorce. It’s not a fun movie. Its nuances and insights into how divorce happens are gut-wrenching.
Yet somehow it’s spawned a world of hilarious memes and become a viral moment since it dropped on Netflix on December 6.
It’s not the first Netflix hit movie to have this fate befall it. Last year it was sci-fi thriller Bird Box, then last month Martin Scorsese’s mobster marathon The Irishman (“It is what it is”) which racked up over 17 million views in its first week.
Now it’s Marriage Story’s turn, and while viewing figures haven’t been released by the platform, Netflix has another win on the board if social media reaction is anything to go by.
I’ve seen that one marriage story clip more times in the last week than I’ve ever seen my own family
— VIVA EVO (@galacticdad) December 12, 2019
Side note: While it’s an odd thing for people to find amusement in the death throes of a relationship, the creativity surrounding its gut-wrenching themes also oddly entertaining.
Without giving too much away, one harrowing scene in Marriage Story – which has a stack of Golden Globe and SAG nominations – sees Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) go hammer and tongs at each other in a depressing rental flat.
The couple gets everything off their chests during the fight, and a flailing, frustrated Charlie even punches a hole in a wall.
Sad, right?. Or, not.
The meme that has almost overshadowed the movie itself is like a prompt in a high school test: In these four panels what are the characters saying to each other?
marriage story meme template pic.twitter.com/rwFga9seZo
— fatih aker (@mesutbahtiyar) December 8, 2019
In most memes, the author pretends to be Nicole, railing at Charlie while he fights back:
A Marriage Story was so sad 💔 pic.twitter.com/iVjSoUHAvi
— carol of the bells (@ballerguy) December 11, 2019
You can also debate pressing issues – favourite TV shows, laundry habits – with yourself.
No other film has me warring with myself quite like Marriage Story pic.twitter.com/vQwSy8Vgea
— Cathy Brennan (@TownTattle) December 7, 2019
Or, just riff off the memes:
— Marshall Shaffer (@media_marshall) December 7, 2019
— Mike Trapp (@MikeWTrapp) December 9, 2019
There’s also variations where Driver’s Charlie is the main player:
AND WHAT WAS HER SISTER? A PRINCESS, THE WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST BRO pic.twitter.com/h0X169nda0
— olive mcgowen (@olivemcgowen) December 7, 2019
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) December 8, 2019
Of course, the leading man’s turn as Kylo Ren in the Star Wars franchise is also meme fodder. The Mandalorian breakout star Baby Yoda even got dragged into it:
eventually all of adam driver's roles come full circle back to kylo ren pic.twitter.com/npW3sotdr5
— mary goore (@dunwaIl) December 6, 2019
— Ben Rosen (@ben_rosen) December 7, 2019
Fight memes aside, Marriage Story has facilitated debate on the Pandora’s Box that has become known online as ‘the Adam Driver discourse’, as W magazine put it.
Basically, is he ‘hot’, what’s up with his voice, and is he supernaturally tall.
Why does Adam Driver, at the not unusual height of 6’2, seem like the biggest man in the world
— Shelley Farmer (@ShelleyBFarmer) December 7, 2019
y’all are rly on twitter saying you’d be disappointed if adam driver (6’2”) approached u at a bar meanwhile ur waiting on a skateboarder with undiagnosed scabies and a mattress on the floor to text u back. c’mon
— helen (@helen) December 9, 2019
I think I speak for hot people everywhere when I say Adam Driver is not one of us
— squiddad (@SquidDad) December 9, 2019
adam driver is the prime example of the one truth in the world, which is to be truly hot you have to be kinda ugly
— lucy valentine (@LucyXIV) December 8, 2019
FINE. I'll say it: adam driver is hot because of his nose
— kate wagner thompson (@mcmansionhell) December 9, 2019
Other Marriage Story issues the internet is wrestling with: are you Team Charlie or Team Nicole, does Laura Dern push NSFW lawyer clothes better than anyone and is New York a better city than Los Angeles?
The bottom line is broader, as Oprah magazine put it: “Netflix is apparently now a meme factory.”