It is a truth universally acknowledged that Adam Driver is Hollywood’s biggest boy. We have spent the past decade watching him on Girls, in Star Wars, and onstage, trying to understand his unique bigness: In 2013, a Vogue editor said Driver was “like a cross between Raging Bull–era De Niro and Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck.” This year, the New Yorker called him the “Original Man” and said the actor has “the bearing of a self-effacing vulture and a face like an Easter Island statue.” I don’t know what “a self-effacing vulture” means, but I do suspect these descriptions are just more socially acceptable ways of discussing something Vulture and the Cut have been aware of for many years: Adam Driver is, at once, the size of “a Camry,” “my apartment,” and “a wise old oak tree on Viagra.”
There are many places to read about Driver’s “talent” and “skill” in Marriage Story, one of three movies he has out this year. (He is, for the record, upsettingly good in Marriage Story, adept at making a selfish, persnickety character sympathetic.) This is not a place to read about any of that, though. This is a place to discuss Adam Driver’s sheer size, and the power — and clearance and access and international implications — of that size. What we are gathered here today to discuss is how much fun it is to see Adam Driver, big boy, squeeze himself into small things. (Apropos of nothing: I am a small thing.) Bear witness to everything Adam Driver is too big for in Marriage Story.
1. A twin bed
The scene: In a counseling session, Charlie recounts what he loves about Nicole; Nicole recounts what she loves about Charlie. She loves how he loves everything about being a dad, even the tantrums and late-night wake-ups. Cue Henry prodding his dad after a nightmare, and Charlie accompanying him back to his room, where they tuck themselves into a twin bed. Charlie’s just about to leave when Henry whimpers out a protest, so dad fluffs his pillow and sleeps on the floor. It becomes a sweet dance from there: Henry wakes up to sleep on the floor beside his dad, Charlie wakes up again and takes over the twin bed. (What a year for twin beds! Booksmart’s bunk beds, Uncut Gems’ race-car bed, and I’m sure there’s a twin bed in Spider-Man: Far From Home, right?)
Approximately how too-big is Adam Driver: Adam Driver, an adult, cannot fit into the bed of a child! According to my research, a twin bed is about 39 inches by 75 inches. Adam Driver is a million inches by a billion inches! He obviously cannot fit in this bed.
2. Julie Hagerty
The scene: Nicole’s mother, Sandra, is affectionately called “G-ma,” and loves both Henry and Charlie. (Something I think about a lot is how people in movies always have delightful pet names for family members that absolutely do not exist in real life. My grandmothers are called “Granny Lewis” and “Granny Harris,” but I do have an aunt called “Auntie.”) When Charlie arrives to the family house on his first trip to Los Angeles, G-ma cutely tries to pick him up: “Charlie Bird!” she yells. “G-ma!” he replies, sweeping her (and possibly me and possibly you and definitely Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and Rian Johnson) off her feet.
Approximately how too-big is Adam Driver: Adam Driver is Adam Driver–size and Gma is Julia Hagerty–size, so she cannot successfully pick him up and throw him over her shoulder. But she does in spirit! If my calculations are correct, it would take a human pyramid of G-mas to lift Adam Driver and carry him anywhere.
3. A car window
The scene: Charlie drives around Los Angeles looking for an attorney able to represent him immediately. At one point, Charlie pulls up to a parking garage and attempts to retrieve his parking slip. He’s such a New Yorker that he botches the grab, overestimating the necessary distance between his car and the machine. He opens the door, closes it again, unbuckles his seatbelt, leans out halfway, sticks a limb out the window. It’s like watching a watermelon squeeze through a straw, or like a really big, weird birth.
Approximately how too-big is Adam Driver: Large Adam Driver trying to contort his body to fit within the driver’s window of a regular rental sedan — Noah Baumbach’s mind! (I’ll tell you what Joker can’t do: this!) A car window can fit only ¼ of Adam Driver, which is to say: an arm.
4. Laura Dern’s spare office
The scene: It’s like a mumblecore battle of the sexes. Nicole and her lawyer, Nora (Laura Dern), sit opposite Charlie and his lawyer, Bert (Alan Alda), hammering out the terms of their separation. Laura Dern pirouettes atop Charlie’s complaints; when it gets heated, Bert interjects to ask for a sidebar with his client. Nora points them to a room that is tragically tiny.
Approximately how too-big is Adam Driver: Charlie has never been more wrong-headed than he is right here in this moment! He was a selfish husband in marriage, and he is an even more selfish husband in divorce. Confronted with this, he doubles down: The family should live in New York. L.A. was never a serious conversation! He marches around this windowless, irregular, pentagon-shaped room, the walls closing in on him. This room can fit one Adam Driver but barely.
5. A ghost costume
The scene: Charlie and Nicole resolve the terms of their divorce, and are free to be friendly co-parents. Last Halloween was a tug-of-war over Henry’s trick-or-treating; this Halloween, Charlie just tags along with Nicole’s family and her new boyfriend, last minute, without any drama. He doesn’t have a costume, so Nicole grabs him a white sheet. Boo, beau!
Approximately how too-big is Adam Driver: Adam driver doesn’t need a sheet, he needs a parachute like in primary-school gym class. But maybe that’s for the best. If the sheet fit perfectly, it would probably be a little too KKKylo Ren.