While a smart work of autofiction, Husband might be too clever for its own good. Professor Devorah Baum and her spouse Josh Appignanesi are in New York. She has a book to promote, he’s there to care for their sons, support her, and film everything. They bicker endlessly while wandering the city’s streets, Appignanesi doing his best Woody Allen by monologuing at his wife. There’s little harmony, and the film begins with Baum expecting the worst from him on their trip.

Despite being real people in a real marriage, not everything about Husband is ‘real’. Arguments are staged, personalities are turned up to 11. Appignanesi tries to recreate a conversation previously held off-camera to a less than enthusiastic response from Baum, who can’t respond with the same sincerity as the first time round.

This meta approach to investigating the love between husband and wife is joyfully playful, but it also creates a barrier of suspicion. Are they actually mad at each other? At the end of another walk-and-talk, Appignanesi begins to plan the next sequence, where it will be and what he’ll be mad about. By playing self-directed caricatures of themselves, they take away a sense of jeopardy, without which Husband feels safer than it might have otherwise.

Its form distracts from the heart of the matter: their relationship is worthy of observation, as most likely are. They are a dysfunctional team living a relatively privileged life. Their personalities don’t sync up, their expectations for each other and the marriage don’t always align, but these imperfections must coexist with more complementary dynamics which keep them together.

Husband’s fictions do not always serve its emotional core, despite how fun it is to lean into staged conflict, but fans of autofiction will find lots to appreciate in its blurring of reality to examine a modern relationship.



DIRECTORS: Devorah Baum & Josh Appignanesi

SYNOPSIS: A married couple attempt to figure out their relationship on screen, involving an angst-riddled trip to the United States.