A filmmaker (John David Washington) and his girlfriend’s (Zendaya) relationship is put the test on the same night as his movie premiere.
In last year’s Academy Award nominated drama A Marriage Story, there is a climatic argument between Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson that is the pinnacle of on screen “fighting”.
Imagine that scene on steroids for almost two hours, add in beautiful black and white cinematography (and Macaroni and Cheese), and TA-DA — you have Sam Levinson’s Malcolm & Marie.
Now if you’re up to date with film news, the initial reviews of the film have been polarizing due to its opinions on film, the industry and specifically film critics.
Although the narrative brings up interesting points, it’s clear that Levinson hasn’t gotten over receiving a bad review or two in his lifetime (and I am guessing one had to be from the L.A. Times). Thus, resulting in a LOT of venting against critics.
However, what I struggled with most is how redundant the script was. There are moments that are thought provoking and as challenging as the characters are. However, the borderline emotionally abusive arguments tend to go in circles FOR ALMOST TWO HOURS. And although some of the repetition in their words and actions feels authentic and relatable (because I know we’ve all been there), it did feel tedious and exhausting as a viewer.
But the acting is the driving force in Malcolm & Marie. Zendaya and John David Washington are electric in the most unfiltered and gut-wrenching of ways. Their chemistry is unmatched.
And although both carry the film through a collection of master class monologues, it is Zendaya who shines through.
Levinson and Zendaya have worked together on HBO’s Euphoria, and he has found a way of working to her strengths and pulling this raw strength yet genuine vulnerability from the actress. It’s a powerful dynamic and with that being said, Zendaya is an astounding powerhouse.
With these two career-best performances, they have established themselves as superstars and usher in a new age of acting greats, which is extremely exciting.
Final Thoughts: With two strong performances at the helm, Malcolm & Marie could have been a powerful drama, but its long runtime and weak writing had me wanting to yell, “SHUT UP, EAT YOUR MAC & CHEESE, AND GO TO BED!”
Also, forewarning, you will want macaroni and cheese, because this is the prettiest Kraft commercial you’ll ever watch.