Scenes from a Marriage Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Scenes from a Marriage (TV Mini Series 2021) Ending Explained: Married couple Mira (Jessica Chastain) and Jonathan (Oscar Isaac). Mira holds a high managerial position in a large international company, Jonathan is a teacher of philosophy. They have a four-year-old daughter, Eva. Jonathan is from an Orthodox Jewish family, where all the traditions corresponding to their faith were steadily carried out: the father raised his son in great severity and Jonathan did not hear a kind word from him.

As a student, Jonathan was very timid and shy, it was hard for him to communicate with other students, and it was Mira, having met him, that Jonathan liberated, and he is very grateful to her for this.

They live in a convenient and comfortable house in the suburbs and seem to be happy. In the first episode of the series, they first answer questions from a woman writing her dissertation in gender psychology about the impact of new gender norms on monogamous marriages.

After that, they meet with their friends – a married couple Peter (Corey Stoll) and Kate (Nicole Bahari). Peter and Kate prefer the so-called open marriage, when the spouses can meet with other sexual partners, but something in this open marriage clearly gave some kind of failure. Jonathan then finds out that Mira is pregnant and they discuss whether they will keep the baby.

Well, we will be shown a few more scenes from their married life over the next few years: there will be many events that both of them will experience quite painfully.


“Scenes from a Married Life” is a classic mini-series by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, filmed by him in 1973 according to his own script. It told the story of teacher Johan and his wife Marianne, who is a divorce lawyer. At some point, Johan leaves for another woman, the family breaks up, however, when each of them lives in a new family, they understand that they cannot live without each other.

Hagay Levy’s new series is a remake of Ingmar Bergman’s series, a kind of modern rethinking. The action is moved to America in the 2000s, and not the husband, but the wife leaves the family: here Mira leaves Jonathan and Eva and leaves for her lover in Tel Aviv.

Like the original, Hagaya Levy’s series is chamber and colloquial. There is very little action as such, and each episode actually represents conversations between Mira and Jonathan at various times in their lives: when they are still doing well, when they are having problems, when Mira leaves Jonathan, when Jonathan asks Mira to sign the divorce papers. when they sell their house and when they already live with other families.

It is very well put. Israeli-born director Hagay Levy has already directed several series in the United States on the psychology of marital relations, and he is really good at this: how he builds a scene, how he shows people talking in the frame, how interior items and the landscape outside the window work. But there is nothing more difficult than filming an hour-long conversation between two people in the same location – well, a maximum of two – so that it would be interesting to follow.

I also liked how the beginning of each episode was done here. And the series begins with how the production process starts on the site. Employees in medical masks (coronavirus) are preparing the set, Jessica and Oscar arrive there, after which the shooting starts and … a complete immersion in the series begins, because everything is played downright amazing.

That is, it’s kind of like they even specifically show us that this is all a production, this is all the art of cinema, never mind, but right there, the series itself demonstrates a very realistic-looking drama and genuine human feelings of the main characters.

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac have some absolutely amazing mutual “chemistry” here, although I do not like this term. But here, chemistry, and physics, and biology, and the devil knows what else – these are really very, very close people (well, or it’s almost brilliantly played), who perfectly feel each other and understand each other.

Jessica and Oscar have already played spouses in the film “The Most Cruel Year”, but there was nothing special in their relationship, and the film had a completely depressing script, and only the good performance of these actors saved it somehow.

And here it’s a completely different level of sincerity. And here the degree of feelings of these two people rises very gradually. First intimate conversations, then family proceedings, after that a gap, but Mira clearly does not want to sign divorce papers, and Jonathan really, really needs this, because he wants to finally get rid of old relationships and throw them off himself, and finally their meeting in a situation where the gap has already occurred a long time ago.

And just this meeting of them in the last, fifth, series is something absolutely amazing. And by the way it’s staged, and most importantly – by the way it’s all played. The level is somehow absolutely transcendent: in terms of the depth of feelings and emotions, in terms of how subtly and with what number of interesting shades this is all shown. And right there, after such a powerful heat of passion, we are shown that the scene has been filmed, Jessica and Oscar in bathrobes (their characters were in bed at the end of the scene) leave the room in which it was all filmed, walk along the film set, and then disperse to their dressing rooms . Stop, filmed!

I really liked it. I just love the last episode. But, by the way, I must say that some other series seemed a bit long. Especially the one where they sorted things out at night for a long time. No, in real life, these nightly showdowns can last far from one hour, but four, and six, and eight hours, otherwise I don’t know it myself. But still, in the format of the series, it seemed to me that, probably, it could have been shortened. However, on the other hand, it was important for the director to make sure that the audience was involved in these family proceedings and immersed in them, and such family conversations are never short, and this is the holy truth.

I didn’t watch Bergman’s series, but after watching this series, as they say, I “flicked through”. In the remake, on the one hand, they treated the original very carefully, and certain moments are directly quoted in it, but, on the other hand, a lot of things have been changed in the remake, and on a more, let’s say, sensual level, the relationships of the main characters are shown. Because Bergman, for example, has the last episode, where the main characters, each of whom already has a new family, also retire to a country house, the intensity of passions in it is not at all the same as in the Hagay Levy series.

Here are some screenshots from Bergman’s series.

A very good series, I highly recommend it to those who love stories about the psychology of family relationships. Excellently staged, but played – really great, I didn’t even expect, although I really like the actor Oscar Isaac, and I consider Jessica Chastain a strong and bright actress: however, I don’t like all the films in which she played.

PS By the way, both Jessica and Oscar have very interesting blood combinations. Oscar’s father is a Cuban of Jewish origin (what a twist!), His mother is a Guatemalan of French origin. And Jessica Chastain is a quarter Basque, one eighth Greek, and among her ancestors were English, Germans, French, Dutch, Northern Irish and Scots. Well, I sort of listed them all.

Scenes from a Marriage review

Directed by: Hagay Levy Cast: Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, Sofia Kopera, Nicole Bahari, Corey Stoll, Tova Feldshuh, Michael Aloni, Sunita Mani, Maury Ginsberg, Shirley Rumirk

Series, USA, 2021, 54 min. Talk Drama, One Season, Five Episodes, Platform – HBO

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