A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Messages of communication and self-control are clear in this intimate portrait of one marriage. We see the sacrifices that must be made, and the upsides and downsides of each decision.
Positive Role Models
Characters are complex and realistic. Mira and Jonathan value their connection to each other and to their child, yet make choices that ultimately degrade the relationship. They tend to act from emotion rather than reason, and make mistakes, yet also learn from them.
Lead characters are White and upper middle class; there are references to Ivy League schools, business presentations, international travel. Some side characters are people of color, and all are complex, realistic characters that we get to know and who have internal lives and agency.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is infrequent but in one scene, characters visit a doctor's office and hear a graphic description of an abortion using medication. In another, the husband pushes his wife away in frustration.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussions of sexuality are frank, yet often revolve around issues such as non-monogamy rather than specific acts of body parts. A woman is proud of her open relationship and says that she thinks it's "empowering" for her kids to see her "always searching for freedom and happiness." It's something she wants to model for them, she says. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, flirting, relationships.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language and cursing: "f--king," "f--k," "bulls--t."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine at dinner, refilling their glasses frequently. No one acts drunk, but they get more expansive and argumentative as they continue to drink. A man has an asthma attack and blames it on drinking too much.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Scenes from a Marriage is a remake of Ingmar Bergman's 1973 Swedish miniseries of the same name, focusing in on a married couple who grapple with their emotions together and separately as they navigate life in their upscale New England town. Action and dialogue is frank and realistic: characters are informed exactly how a chemical abortion will play out; a non-monogamous married couple discusses the effect their decision has on their relationship. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, dating, flirting. Characters drink at dinner and one character blames an asthma attack on drinking too much; characters also get expansive and argumentative after drinking. Language and cursing includes "f--king," "f--k," "bulls--t." Main characters are White and upper middle class; they live luxurious lives free of material needs. Side characters are diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, but not wealth, body type, or social class. Characterizations are complex, realistic; people make mistakes and learn from them as well as suffering consequences. The slowness of the action and subtlety of themes makes this drama more suitable for adults and older teens.
Is It Any Good?
Beautifully acted, shot, and composed, this remake of the 1973 Bergman Swedish miniseries is high-quality, potent, grown-up drama that takes its time allowing its storylines to spool out. Not all viewers will appreciate the languid pace: the characters and their dialogue feel realistic in ways both good and bad. "Um"s litter their speech, characters talk over each other, they stammer and start to say one thing, but wind up saying something quite different. For viewers with patience, it's positively mesmerizing. It's clear from Mira and Jonathan's first moments together onscreen that this is a marriage in which things are being left unsaid; just what those things are comes slowly, but the slow reveal feels like real life instead of a director teasing us.
Chastain and Isaac do have potent chemistry with each other, and their relationship feels lived-in. There's a wonderful moment in the first episode in which the married couple brushes their teeth together after a hectic dinner party. The side of each sink is littered with cosmetics, his, hers; Jonathan, tellingly, spits without checking first that his wife isn't in the splashback zone; Mira's lips are tight around her brush, holding back the things she'd like to say if she were up for the chaos they would cause. In these moments, Scenes from a Marriage reveals its downbeat but painfully real message: Marriage sure is a great way to kill passion and romance.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.