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9 Movies Like Marriage Story on Netflix You Should Watch Next

Marriage Story is easily one of the most polarizing movies in recent years. The 2019 film, which was obviously inspired by the work of 1970s directors (especially John Cassavetes), is truly gut-wrenching and gripping in a way that most movies are not. Centering around Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver), we see what happens as their marriage breaks up. Unlike a lot of movies that would show us the good times in order to establish their chemistry, Marriage Story does the complete opposite of that. Through a brutal custody/divorce settlement, we are able to see the relationship that once was in this Netflix Original.

At times, you might root for Nicole. At other times you might root for Charlie, however, the goal of Marriage Story isn’t to take a side. It is really an examination of what happens between two people that, despite being at their worst, never really stop loving one another. It is this idea that has stayed with viewers and why Marriage Story has resonated so strongly. And the good news is, once the credits roll, you don’t have to say “goodbye” to these characters.

Marriage Story isn’t the first movie to deal with these issues. This film has many brothers, sisters, and distant cousins. The best part is you can stream Marriage Story on Netflix and then watch the aforementioned films below, so it’s like the Marriage Story in question never really ends.

Updated May 18, 2023: If you are a fan of Marriage Story and put it on a pedestal for all it has to offer, you’ll be glad to know that this article has been updated with similar movies and additional content by Yosra Ben Lagha.



9 Blue Valentine (2010)

The Weinstein Company

Part of what makes Marriage Story so gripping is that it literally cannot have a happy ending. Like the John Cassavetes films that inspired it, it ends with a sense of this is just how life is sometimes. Blue Valentine, by director Derek Cianfrance, is equally soul-crushing.

This tale of a marriage in disrepair is made all the more poignant as it has precisely what Marriage Story is missing. We get to see a mix of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in their salad days. At that point in the relationship when they could literally live for one another and nothing else. When nobody, other than them, mattered. To see what their relationship has become is the kind of story that almost plays as a cautionary tale.

Related: These Are the Most Honest and Realistic Movies About Marriage

Like in Marriage Story, this movie gives the audience a peak at the slow and agonizing process of a marriage dissolving into nothingness. The dialogue might not be as long and well constructed as in Marriage Story, but the emotions run deep and hit even harder as we witness the couple silently struggling to give up on the relationship. If you were gripped by Marriage Story, positively or negatively, Blue Valentine will give you an extra dose of a relationship gone, sadly, wrong.

8 You Get Me (2017)

You Get Me

Bella Thorne sizzles as Holly, a high school student who will not be cast aside by Tyler (Taylor John Smith) after one night of intimacy. Okay, You Get Me is a big departure from the arty nuance that pervades Marriage Story. What it does tap into is the unbridled passion that brings people together, and at the same time also threatens to tear them apart.

This Netflix Original seems, on the face of it, to be a fairly disposable piece of streaming content. Yet, also like Marriage Story, it actually takes a deep dive into relationships. It examines how we treat one another, the decisions we make in the moment, and how sometimes words said one day mean nothing the next. We watch this play out with both sets of characters in both movies, and it isn’t any less heart-wrenching.

7 After (2019)

After (1)
Voltage Pictures

Based on Anna Todd’s popular novel, After seems to follow a fairly predictable tale of a young girl meeting a dangerous boy who opens up her world. If you wonder why anybody who enjoyed Marriage Story would enjoy this then you are only looking at the surface.

Marriage Story, if you follow it, was very much about a woman meeting a man who opened up her world but would only allow her to grow so much in it. After looks at the character of Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) and the relationship she forms with Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). While their relationship doesn’t go to the level that Charlie and Nicole’s descends to in Marriage Story, we certainly see what the initial spark between the characters was.

Ultimately, After shows Tessa having an awakening through her relationship with Hardin Scott. This film is layered, has nuance, and it truly has a kinship with Marriage Story. Will you feel the same way about it as that Oscar-nominated Netflix Original? Like the character of Tessa, that depends on how open you are to the experience.

6 The Ugly Truth (2019)

The Ugly Truth
Sony Pictures Releasing

Of all the movies mentioned on this list, The Ugly Truth has got to be the most cookie-cutter in terms of content. It stars Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl as two opposites who somehow attract one another in the milieu of the news world. So how does this film compare with a movie like Marriage Story which seems to come from another planet?

Well, not every relationship movie can be as rich, layered, and filled with captivating performances in Marriage Story. And why would we want them to be? What is needed after viewing that Netflix Original is something a tad lighter, and The Ugly Truth provides the perfect bit of softness. It is fun, frivolous, and the kind of movie that will probably make you forget your own relationship woes.

Netflix has a way of providing the perfect mix of content. Of matching what is needed vs. what is wanted to create a virtual yin and yang of a streaming experience. Marriage Story will more than put you in the mood for this film.

5 The Spectacular Now (2013)

Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now

Marriage Story is a very adult film which is why The Spectacular Now works so seamlessly as a counterpart. If you loved (or even enjoyed) Marriage Story, chances are that The Spectacular Now will work for you. This tale of a partying senior (Miles Teller) who has his “in the now” life changed when he meets a more strait-laced female (Shailene Woodley), might seem like the stuff of 1990s, indie film, The Brothers McMullen lore. Then you watch The Spectacular Now, and it’s hard not to be taken by its earnest storytelling and brutal relationship dynamics.

Okay, it’s not exactly on the same level as Marriage Story. However, there is a brutal nature to the way that Sutter (Teller) conducts himself. He is completely headed downhill when this movie starts, and it’s only the character of Aimee (Woodley) who can redeem him. Brie Larson is also on hand as an old flame whose treatment of Sutter, only adds more harshness to the proceedings.

4 The Notebook (2004)

Gosling and McAdams - The Notebook
New Line Cinema 

Nick Cassavetes, son of John, directed this beloved film that co-stars his mother and probably would’ve co-starred his late father as well. This movie is hung on Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as two people that are meant to be together but ultimately have many things get in their way.

Again, this doesn’t seem like it would in any way play to the fans of Marriage Story. The reality is that people that have screened Marriage Story have probably already seen The Notebook. If that’s the case then they know that The Notebook, even though it’s been penned by Nicholas Sparks (whose schmaltz factor always seems to appear in the movies based on his books), is no Harlequin Romance. Rather it is a deeply layered love story about everything it takes to not only get together with the right person but to sustain that relationship over the long term. They couldn’t make it work in Marriage Story. The Notebook is a solid counterpoint that shows how, against all odds, sometimes you really don’t have any choice.

3 The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)

The Meyerowitz Stories's cast

Given that Noah Baumbach directed Marriage Story and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), it only seemed fitting to include this film on this list. Sure, the subject is different, but the strains of what it means to be “related” to people is ever-present.

Marriage Story looks at two people having to accept that something they’ve tried to create isn’t going to work. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) looks at how we deal with our family. How at some point we need to take stock of our parent’s lives and see how who they were is imprinted on us. For many, the effects of this process is gut-wrenching. The marks left over from the past never really leave us. At the same time, we have to live with them as they are a part of who we are.

Related: Here’s How to Survive the Five Stages of a Breakup With Movies

Charlie and Nicole in Marriage Story have become different people, but they will forever have a common bond in the child they created. They, like many in families, have to work together because they don’t want their issues clouding their children’s lives. Sadly, this is inevitable, and both films show the effects of this in all its brutal truth. If you loved Marriage Story, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is mandatory viewing.

2 Purple Hearts (2022)

Purple Hearts cast

The Netflix-original romance movie, Purple Hearts, directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum and starring Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine, is yet another extraordinary movie about rocky, unstable marriages. Simply put, the story is about the complex romance between an aspiring songwriter named Cassie struggling to make ends meet, and a young marine called Luke. Together, they conspire to get married in order to enjoy the benefits of being part of the military, like very good health insurance. Luke first hesitates to help Cassie, but, then, he comes around and agrees to the fake marriage because of Cassie’s deteriorating health.

Although Cassie’s singing career gets a boost, her marriage is definitely not progressing. The couple spends too much time and energy hiding the fact that it’s all a lie, and forgets to invest emotionally in the relationship. An accident at work, however, puts Luke in a wheelchair, which creates the kind of atmosphere that allowed the newlyweds to get closer to each other. When Cassie looked after Luke with devotion during his time of need, it made him feel emotionally and physically indebted to her.

However, the couple doesn’t get a chance to grow their intimacy as their fake marriage is discovered. Luke pleads guilty at his trial in order to protect his wife, but they get separated for six months. Surely enough, unlike in Purple Hearts, the marital problems in Marriage Story come at a later stage in the marriage and the story is not the same, but both couples experienced up-close, the highs and lows that come with a real or fake marriage.

1 La La Land (2016)

 Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land.
Lionsgate Films

You probably think that this movie doesn’t belong on this list. But here are a few reasons why it has all the potential to make the cut. Damien Chazelle’s 2016 musical La La Land is about two very ambitious and talented individuals who are brought closer by the flame of their passion but ultimately torn apart by that same flame.

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), an established musician who dreams of opening his own jazz club, meets Mia (Emma Stone) an actress waiting for the gates of Hollywood to open for her. As they slowly get to know each other, they realize that they are developing feelings for one another. At first, they embrace those feelings and even start supporting each other’s dreams, but as they progress toward their dreams, their path starts splitting and the choice between love and duty (toward one’s dreams) starts tearing their romance apart and disillusioning them.

In an emotionally gripping and tear-jerking scene in Griffith Park, the two lovers finally say their goodbyes. As Mia is looking forward to being accepted in Paris, any future together is now slowly disappearing. The movie’s sense of sadness which reminds us of Marriage Story comes from juxtaposing two seemingly bubbly notions of love and dreams and making them blend into a painful and fated separation.

This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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