Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) once left behind an acting career in Hollywood, moving to New York City to star in her husband's — Charlie (Adam Driver) — avant-garde plays. Then Nicole is offered a role in a TV series in LA, which she accepts, leaving and taking their son with her. An unpleasant surprise awaits Charlie when he comes to visit: following the advice of her lawyer Nora (Laura Dern), Nicole serves him with divorce papers. She wants to stay in Los Angeles with her son; Charlie does what he can to prevent this. The spouses, two reasonable and decent people, become embroiled in an increasingly nasty divorce battle.
Divorce plays an important role in the work of director Noah Baumbach, who witnessed his parents' separation as a child — an experience that he incorporated into his award-winning 2005 The Squid and the Whale. A love gone doesn't bring out the best in people.