A film review by Isaque
“Malcolm and Marie” follows a couple as they peel back the many layers of their relationship in a quest to find if there is any love left or if there was any at all.
Levinson’s writing is quite layered and is borderline breaking the fourth wall when he uses Malcolm’s character to explain the plight of writing from a perspective that is not inherently his own.
Opposite of the writer’s complexity, the film uses minimalism to its full advantage. There is a lack of supporting cast and other locations, and there is a very noticeable void of color. We can conclude that the significance of the black and white coloring takes our eye off the luxurious living space that the couple resides in and forces us to focus on the couple themselves.
With only Malcolm and Marie in the foreground, we are forced to focus solely on their body language and words. The couple’s word selection is the most revealing because they tend to say what is not essential. Both Marie and Malcolm are highly intelligent and extremely articulate, so much so that the writing tricks us into listening to what is said instead of why it is said and, more importantly, what is not being said.
While the dialogue is a tad rhythmic, predictable, and a bit exhausting at times, we are rewarded with captivating and passionate performances by Zendaya and John David Washington. Zendaya plays her lover’s muse despite a scorned and spotty past as a drug addict. Zendaya is very convincing. Quickly, we get lost in her character. John David Washington plays a budding filmmaker with deep character flaws. We see a bit of narcissism peek through from time to time, but we also see brief glimpses of humility and compassion played charismatically by Washington. While a little less convincing, Washington is very compelling to watch. Together Zendaya and Washington make for a more than interesting couple. The two of them play off each other exceptionally well, providing for moments where they remind us of a real couple we know of or of oneself in a past relationship.
There are many highs and lows in the film, and their capability to love, laugh, argue, fuss, and fight at a moment’s notice shows great skill in both actors. There is rarely just one scene with just one or two emotions portrayed. Each actor had to slide across the emotional spectrum multiple times throughout the projects —— to that, I say bravo.
Zendaya’s and Washington’s performances in “Malcolm and Marie” make you excited to see what they will be able to accomplish in their upcoming projects.
So what is the take-away from this movie —— what can we conclude the film is conveying? Ultimately, we are left with two highly intelligent and extremely articulate individuals that have a hard time communicating with each other. It is almost as if words are futile.
What Marie and Malcolm did in the film is what a lot of us do. When it comes to problems in our relationship, we talk about everything else instead of what is really at the core of the issue. We tend to focus on everything other than what is truly important.
Loving someone can be described as sacrifice and being vulnerable, but love is also in part expressing gratitude and appreciation. If you love someone, thank them. Be proactive and thank them. At best, you’ll extend the love you have, making it an infinitely better relationship. At worse, you may circumvent a 2-hour tit-for-tat argument.
Sometimes we make things more complicated —— sometimes it is fewer words, not more, that means the most. They engage in a 2-hour argument only to end back where they started, with a simple “Thank you” and “You are welcome.”