MALCOLM & MARIE (2021) – My rating: 9/10

Malcolm & Marie is a romantic drama written, produced, and directed by Sam Levinson. Kid Cudi also serves as an executive producer on the film. Malcolm & Marie explores a writer-director and his girlfriend, whose relationship is tested on the night of his latest movie premiere. Filmed in Black and White, I wasn’t sure Malcolm & Marie would interest me but low and behold, it was fabulous!

Film writer-director Malcolm Elliott (John David Washington) returns home from his movie premiere with his girlfriend Marie Jones (Zendaya). Malcolm eagerly anticipates the critical reviews of his film following the emotional audience response from the premiere screening. When he notices Marie looking displeased, he urges her to tell him what is bothering her. Initially reluctant to start a fight in the middle of the night, she tells him that she is upset that she wasn’t thanked or acknowledged in his speech at the premiere.

Oddly, what Marie was feeling is the basis for this entire film.  Washington and Zendaya are the only actors in the movie so they had to pull everything they had out of their performances to keep the critics as well as their audience in favor of this two-character film.  Malcolm had to dig deep into the heart of Marie to find out what was really eating her.  Marie had to set aside the high road and lay the truth on Malcolm, no matter what.  Being that the film Malcolm created was basically about Marie, she felt he owed her, at the very least, a thank you.  The argument grew huge over the evening causing many truths to surface.  While they managed to call many truces between serious opposition, the fight continued.  As we find out more and more about these two people, we clearly see their argument is spot on for the ordinary mass.

I was really drawn into Malcolm & Marie’s battle.  The acting was Academy Award-worthy and the plot was not above our empathy.  There was so much you didn’t see coming but when it did come, it was mind-blowing.  What a perfect flick during the Covid pandemic.  Kudos to Washington, Zendaya, and Levinson for this unpredictable movie with the perfect environment in which to film it.  The project was the first Hollywood feature to be entirely written, financed, and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Zendaya and Washington’s performances and Levinson’s direction but criticized his screenplay. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 60% of 200 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website’s critics’ consensus reads, “Malcolm & Marie‘s ambitions aren’t always satisfactorily fulfilled, but its flaws are often offset by the strong chemistry between the film’s stars.” I was totally entertained and was blown away by the conclusion of Marie’s argument.  Malcolm & Marie is streaming on Netflix — Check It Out!


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