Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Merritt Wever, Ray Liotta

Writer- director Noah Baumbach has cultivated a comfortabl­e groove as his generation’s Woody Allen, making elegant, witty New Yorker dramedies with New Yorker neuroses. But Allen, at his best, could step it up to make something a little more piercing and personal, just as Baumbach has done here. Seemingly inspired by the breakdown of his own marriage to actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, he delivers a compassion­ate, raw- nerved, sometimes savagely funny chronicle of what happens when a showbiz marriage ends. Awkward, self- involved theatre director Charlie ( Driver) and his frustrated, California­craving actress wife Nicole ( Johansson) don’t want to hurt each other as they embark on a purportedl­y civil divorce, but legal warfare and emotional blackmail somehow ensue. Thanks to gutsy, career- best performanc­es by the leads, our sympathies ricochet between them right to the very end. 15 November

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