Malcolm & Marie Movie Review And Film Summary(2021)

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Video Source – Netflix (Netflix YouTube Channel)

Malcolm & Marie is a 2021 American black-and-white romantic drama film written and directed by Sam Levinson. The film stars John David Washington and Zendaya (who both also produced) as the title characters, a director and his girlfriend, whose relationship is tested on the night of his latest film’s premiere.

The project was the first Hollywood feature to be entirely written, financed, and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, with filming taking place in June and July 2020.

Malcolm & Marie Cast

  • John David Washington as Malcolm Elliott
  • Zendaya as Marie Jones

Malcolm & Marie Plot

When filmmaker Malcolm Elliott and his girlfriend Marie return home from a movie premiere and await his film’s critical response, the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the couple’s love.

Malcolm & Marie Movie Review

Malcolm & Marie is either an extremely great film or just something that is long and intense full of nothing but argument. There is so much talking it’s so intense it almost feels like you’re inside this film and it’s so hard to get out of it and maybe the filmmakers wanted you to feel like that and well they succeeded.

Some say it’s a masterpiece, some say it’s just two people talking so so so much about things that it gets annoying, about things they do or did like Malcolm’s passion for making films and how he’s obsessed with the art of filmmaking and what it carries and where it takes you.

And how Marie was an addict and she had to go through all that and also how much talented she is when it comes to acting. 

And then how much they love each other? Yes a question mark, do they love each other? Is there any romance? One second you feel like yeah maybe they do love each other madly and the other second it just blows off? Like what is happening?

Too many questions, too many things happening at once. Sometimes the argument is soft and slow sometimes it’s loud and wild! This film presents the art of argument and it can either be amazing or annoying. No doubt its getting  mixed reviews. 

Zendaya And John David Washington in a still from Malcolm & Marie

Zendaya And John David Washington In Malcolm & Marie

Both the actors did a mind blowing job no doubt, it’s the tension for us, it’s the Malcolm wildly consuming Mac n cheese for us! Gives off immaculate vibes, so clean loved them together.

It’s not a love story , it never was a love story. It’s all about who wins the argument, who has the best way to hurt the other , who has more power, who is more smart, who is the most toxic in the film. And Zendaya and David Washington did portray Malcolm and Marie well. 

Malcolm & Marie Cinematography

After receiving approval from the Writers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America, the film began principal production from June 17 to July 2.

Shooting took place entirely at the Caterpillar House, a private home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. The film followed local COVID-19 safety protocols, including the entire cast and crew being quarantined during shooting, as well as two weeks before and after shooting, daily temperature checks, and increased sanitation measures.

The crew included many members of the Euphoria crew, including cinematographer Marcell Rév and production designer Michael Grasley.

Both Washington and Zendaya were responsible for doing their own makeup and picking out their own costumes, as there were no makeup artists or costume designer on set. No more than 12 people were allowed on set at a time. 

The production also had to be kept very confined so that the cast and crew could remain undisturbed during shooting. The film was shot on black-and-white 35 mm film.

Malcolm & Marie Movie Critical Reception

According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 60% of 119 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.”

On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.

Writing for Variety, Peter Debruge said “Levinson gives his stars roughly equal time, carefully modulating the sense of balance throughout. His direction seldom seems showy, and yet, we sense the intention behind each cut as power and control shifts throughout the movie.” 

David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a grade of C+ and wrote that “Sam Levinson’s exasperatingly gorgeous Malcolm & Marie is a lot like the two people who lend its title their names: confident and insecure in equal measure, stuffed to the gills with big ideas but convinced of nothing beyond its own frenzied existence, and reverent of Hollywood’s past at the same time it’s trying to stake a new claim for its future.”

Charles Bramesco of Little White Lies criticized the film for being an “awkward, hideously overacted talkathon” scoring the film with a 1/5 rating.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

John David Washington joined the project after Levinson read 10 pages of dialogue to Washington over the phone, saying “I couldn’t believe it. It was beautiful words I heard, and at the same time very disturbing with visceral confrontations. Levinson pitched several projects to Zendaya, including a psychological thriller they would film at her home. He then began to come up with “a relationship piece that plays out in real time.”

Malcolm & Marie is a very intense film or it is  just one beautiful film to watch. It’s like once you start watching it you’re stuck in it till the end , there’s no escape.

At least for a Cinephile  it feels like that or maybe not but I did feel it and well here I am writing the Review at 4am in the morning because I’m wowed, amused.

One second I didn’t know what to feel but then had to push the “come back to reality” button.  Overall , loved the Cinematography and the acting. Malcolm & Marie is now streaming on Netflix. 

Author

  • Semin Tungekar is a Mumbai based writer who has contributed a number of Articles to The Movie Culture. She also has a nack for Digital Arts which she constantly puts out on her domain.