Malcolm and Marie review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

Netflix’s latest film is finally here. “Malcolm and Marie” is one of the first Hollywood films to be written, financed and produced during the COVID-19 Pandemic with filming taking place in secret in June and July 2020. Seeing as how this film solely takes place in a house and only stars two people, it’s the perfect flick to watch during quarantine.

The film centers on director Malcolm Elliot (John David Washington) who comes home after a film premiere on a movie based on his girlfriend Marie Jones (Zendaya). While they both seem happy in their relationship, everything is not as perfect as they seem. Marie feels unappreciated after Malcolm forgot to acknowledge her in his speech at the premiere. This causes an argument between the two as Malcolm is more focused on his success while Marie wants his recognition. Throughout the night, both characters go from arguing to loving each other which leads to a reckoning that will decide the future of their relationship.

Based on that synopsis, this feels like a film that not everyone would be interested in. Which is understandable as the film only stars two people and as mentioned before, solely takes place in a house. I had those thoughts going in, but thankfully this film manages to pull off a pretty good couple story. 

I think a lot of that comes from the two leads they chose for these roles. The biggest standout is Zendaya. Hands down! This is an actress who’s had an interesting history starting out on the Disney Channel and paving her way to big budget productions. It’s not hard to see why as she’s chillingly good in this film. Her strong performance equally matches John David Washington who finds the right balance of charisma and self-centeredness.

What makes things even more interesting is that even though they mainly talk about their history and don’t show you their relationship leading up to this point, it still works because the emotions of these character’s past carry into these conversations. Because of this, you feel like you know these people, you feel like you’re in this house listening to these intense discussions. 

I especially liked the black and white color palette as well as the cinematography. It’s hard to explain, but something about the way they shoot the house and these actors in these creative angles is really impressive. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as this is the same director who did “Euphoria”, another show starring Zendaya that has a similar feel and tone to this.

If I were to give any criticism, it’d be that there are a few scenes that go on for too long. In between conversations, the characters would sort of just wander off and do their own thing for a bit before talking to each other again. I feel like some of these scenes could have been trimmed down a bit. I also feel like a lot of people are going to be a little divided on the ambiguous ending as they are going to question what was the overall point to all this. I personally don’t mind the choices made that led to the ambiguity of the ending. I honestly think it’s more interesting if we don’t know how this relationship turns out.

Overall, I think this is a wonderfully made film with an interesting premise led by stellar actors. Take a look and see it for yourself.

Rating 4 / 5 Sails


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