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‘Scenes from a Marriage’: Release date, reviews and everything we know about the HBO limited series

Scenes from a Marriage
(Image credit: WarnerMedia)

Foreign films and TV shows have always been ripe for American remakes (a lot of us really don’t like reading subtitles, do we?), and the latest example of that is going to be HBO’s adaptation of the classic Ingmar Bergman miniseries Scenes from a Marriage, reimagined to present day and starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac.

Tackling the adaptation of the Swedish master’s work is Hagai Levi, who created the original series that In Treatment is based on as well as writing and directing for the HBO series, and for Showtime’s The Affair. Amy Herzog is also wrote the limited series with Levi, with the project being her first major project.

HBO has a long history of being behind fantastic limited series, most recently with Mare of Easttown. Will Scenes from a Marriage capture the zeitgeist in a similar way? We’ll see, but in the meantime here is everything that we know about Scenes from a Marriage.

What is the plot of ‘Scenes from a Marriage’?

The original Scenes from a Marriage is a 1973 miniseries written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Liv Ullman, Erland Josephson and Bibi Andersson. It chronicled the love and turmoil that makes up the marriage of Marianne (Ullman) and Johan (Josephson), compiling multiple years and different stages of the couples relationship.

The HBO version of Scenes from a Marriage will re-examine the idea of love, hatred, desire, monogamy and more that the original did but through the lens of a contemporary American couple.

Who is in the ‘Scenes from a Marriage’ cast?

The headliners of the cast are A-list stars Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, playing the central married couple, renamed here as Mira and Jonathan.

Besides having two of the best actors around in the series, the pairing of Chastain and Isaac is exciting thanks to the previous chemistry they showed in the great but criminally underrated film A Most Violent Year. In the film they also played a married couple involved in crime in 1980s New York. They were sensational together and I’d expect similar fireworks between the two in this new project.

Other members of the cast include Nicole Beharie, Corey Stoll, Tovah Feldshuh, Maury Ginsberg, Lily Jane, Sunita Mani, Susan Pourfar, Daniella Rabbani, Shirley Rumierk, Tre Ryder and Gwyneth Anne Trumbore.

When is the ‘Scenes from a Marriage’ release date?

Scenes from a Marriage is set for a release on HBO on Sept. 12 at 9 p.m. ET. The limited series will run one hour-long episode for five weeks, with the series wrapping up on Oct. 10.

The first two episodes will also reair at 10 p.m. ET on HBO, while the final three episodes will reair at 11:35 p.m. ET.

In the UK, Scenes from a Marriage will be shown on Sky Atlantic, Sky Box Sets and Now later this autumn. We will update as soon as we know more on the UK release date.

Is there a ‘Scenes from a Marriage’ trailer?

HBO’s full trailer for Scenes from a Marriage shows plenty of what’s in store for Chastain and Isaac’s characters, as they go from the blissful married couple to miserable and just about everything in between. From the short glimpses we get it certainly looks like the pair of leading actors are in tip-top shape.

Watch the trailer below.

What’s the buzz on ‘Scenes from a Marriage’?

Unsurprisingly, heaps of praise are being thrown on Chastain and Isaac in the first batch of reviews. However, critics are finding cracks in the adaptation as a whole.

IndieWire notes that the new Scenes from a Marriage treds its own path in “honest, agonizing” ways, but recognizes that it’s subject has been touched upon in a number of other projects since the original Bergman project. The Hollywood Reporter is a little rougher, calling it a “tremendously uninspired adaptation.”

Scenes from a Marriage currently has a 63 score on Metacritic.

How to watch ‘Scenes from a Marriage’

Scenes from a Marriage will air live on HBO at 9 p.m. ET for the next few Sundays, and again at set times throughout the week. The HBO cable network is a premium channel that you order through a traditional cable package. However, the series will also be available to stream on HBO Max.

Consumers can sign up for HBO Max as a standalone service, either for its $9.99 ad-supported plan or the $14.99 ad-free plan. In addition, HBO Max can be added to vMVPD services like YouTube TV, Hulu and Prime Video. Other services offering the HBO Max streaming app include Apple TV, Roku, Xfinity, DirecTV and Verizon Fios. It can also be watched on smart TVs, Android and Apple mobile devices, Google Chromecast, PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles.

Like other HBO shows, Scenes from a Marriage will make its way onto Sky Atlantic and the NOW streaming service for U.K. audiences. It is expected to arrive at some point in 2021, though an official date has not been announced.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.