“You spend your entire life catering to the feelings and the whims of literally everyone but me.” – Marie
Malcolm & Marie is a beautifully aesthetic, well acted, and extremely relatable film which demonstrates an in depth character study of a young couple whilst also acting as a voice for Levinson’s feelings towards Hollywood. The film explores the art of arguing through over the top monologues in their stunning home where we ultimately uncover who these two characters are as their arguments unfold.
Sam Levinson exhibits an extremely stylish film shot in black and white to give off this old school noir aesthetic which I personally loved. Unfortunately, Malcolm & Marie did not do so well with its audience, netting a below average 6.7 on IMDB. Nevertheless, I still loved it. Some films need to be picked apart when judging them, and some don’t. Malcolm & Marie is one that I don’t think needs to be picked apart for some deeper message or intent, it simply is what it is, an over the top argument between two people. When I watched Malcolm & Marie, it felt like it would have been perfect for the stage through the constant monologues and the over the top acting and script. Yes, half the things they said no one really ever says, but what’s wrong with that? It felt like Malcolm and Marie were the physical manifestation of a couple’s feelings during an argument, what we wish we said, how we really feel. By no means am I saying this film is perfect, because it isn’t, however I found way more positives than I did negatives. One negative I noticed which is the problem many others have voiced too, is that it can seem extremely pretentious and trying too hard to be this artsy type film. I agree that it can be perceived like that, however I don’t think it was made in a pretentious way, I think it was simply an attempt to create an extremely aesthetically beautiful film with strong acting performances.
The acting from both Zendaya and John David Washington was extremely impressive, Zendaya was simply electrifying in her performance. Malcolm & Marie is a tale of insecurity, a story of two people who love and hate each other at the same time and both actors display this in an extremely real and raw way. Malcolm is a self-indulgent film director who gives little credit and gratification to his partner, Marie. Throughout the movie there is the notion that Malcolm is extremely under-appreciative towards Marie, as we see her express her feelings of being unacknowledged through a fit of rage and sadness. We essentially learn everything there is to know about both characters through all their monologues. We learn that Marie has a troubled past with wounds still left unhealed, and Malcolm is essentially an over the top ego-maniac. Malcolm and Marie are in a dying relationship where their own problems are taking over their love for eachother. It seems that it is not that they do not love each other, it is rather that they cannot fit together, they simply do not work. They are both stuck in an extremely toxic relationship. Their arguments are simply pointless, as Marie indicates early on: “I promise you, nothing productive is going to be said tonight”.
All in all, I love this film, I thoroughly enjoyed how beautiful it was, the performances were incredible, it was extremely stylistic, classy, and different to anything I have seen before. It demonstrated what a dying love looks like through dramatic exaggerated monologues that were made captivating through the impressive performances from Zendaya and John David Washington.