Malcolm and Marie (2021) Review

Fantastically acted by both JDW and Zendaya, it’s just a shame that they play such unlikeable characters.

Certificate: 15

Director: Sam Levinson

Screenwriter: Sam Levinson

Starring: John David Washington, Zendaya

Genre: Drama, Roamnce

Runtime: 106 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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A filmmaker returns home with his girlfriend following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what’s sure to be imminent critical and financial success. The evening suddenly takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the strength of their love. – From IMDB

This film had a lot of hype, and a lot of discussion surrounding it, weeks before it was widely available for people to watch.  So needless to say that I was exited to throw my hat into the ring and see what all the fuss was about.  And I now understand why a lot of people were saying that they had a hard time rating or reviewing this film.  I don’t know if I have ever had such mixed feeling about a movie before, and I did find it very hard to figure out my rating.

On the one hand, and perhaps the most notable, the acting in this film is absolutely superb.  You almost cannot fault Washington or Zendaya in this film in regards to their acting.  It truly is astounding for the most part.  Some aggressive Mac and Cheese eating aside, (that whole scene made me really uncomfortable) their performances had my eyes glued to the screen.  And while I think that they had a lot more chemistry while they were fighting than when they were supposed to be having any tender moments, 95% of what I saw on screen was truly amazing.

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My main gripe though was that there was nothing likeable about the characters.  They spend the entire film being absolutely horrid to each other.  Saying truly terrible and hurtful things just to sore points in their side of the argument.  And the constant flip between fighting and making up, which happens A LOT during the runtime of this film was slightly repetitive by the end. 

Sam Levinson clearly has a lot to say about Film Criticism, especially as it pertains to black voices and the perception of films made by Black film makers.  And while all the points he makes in this film are very valid and important issues that should be addressed, he uses JDW’s character almost as a battering ram to drive the points home. 

I had some issues with it, but it was worth watching just to see Zendaya give in my opinion her career best performance  far. 

‘Malcom and Marie’ is streaming on Netflix now!

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