Zendaya and John David Washington have had quite the run in the last few years of their acting careers. From winning an Emmy for Euphoria and being in the Spider-Man films to working with Spike Lee and Christopher Nolan, they both are actors who are on the consciousness of film and television aficionados everywhere. Their careers have taken off in recent years. That being said, their roles in Malcolm & Marie might be the best work of their young careers.
Malcolm and Marie arrive at their beach house after a successful film premiere for Malcolm’s film based somewhat on Marie’s life. They start to settle down and relax. When a question is asked of Malcolm by Marie, that sets them off on an argument. This argument runs the gamut of happiness, sadness, anger, and ecstasy. They are friendly and fuming at one another at various times in the film. These two individuals go at each other like no other I’ve seen in any film before or probably will again.
Sam Levinson is known for the HBO series Euphoria where Zendaya plays the character of Rue for him. He enlisted her again for his little film Malcolm & Marie last year and it’s already out on Netflix so very soon. For Euphoria, he has been able to get actors to bare it all on the screen including Zendaya. In his latest work, the characters are stripped down from a director and his muse to just people. They are real people going through what every couple goes through in their relationship. Everybody has ups and downs in their lives and relationship. This film expresses this state of a couple of relationships perfectly.
The black and white cinematography Levinson used in the film was a perfect way to tell this story. Monochrome is used in many films to strip down the film to its bare bones and that is exactly what Levinson does in his film. The argument is anything but black and white, but that is a contrast to the film’s beautiful visuals. It’s a nice dichotomy to the argument. Marcell Rev is a cinematographer to watch in the future. This film is gorgeous.
From listening to my parents and several friends and acquaintances argue vehemently over the decades, I can say this film gets it spot-on. From the moody behavior to all of the emotional ups and downs between these two lovers, even when they walk away from one another and in the process of making and eating mac and cheese, they get all the aspects of arguing perfectly. They take baths, change clothes, take walks, and smoke cigarettes. All aspects of how they cope or deal with arguments. This helps make this real. It’s all very effective getting across every facet of this story.
This is one of the most realistic films I have ever seen, even though at times I was laughing at some of the dialogue. I just knew some of these tropes with couples. So it was funny when they said different things I knew would come up. Zendaya and Washington deliver every word with honesty and sincerity. It was like this whole thing was going on in front of me. That is a testament to the filmmakers and everyone involved with the film. It’s a masterpiece of character development and a study on human relationships.
Malcolm & Marie Review
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media