“Malcolm & Marie” is Pretentious and Miserable

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“Malcolm & Marie” was written & directed by Sam Levinson and stars John David Washington and Zendaya as the title characters. The movie is about a director and his girlfriend returning from the premiere of his great new film and calmly discussing their relationship. I’m just kidding — this is 100 minutes of two people screaming and cursing at each other.

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Washington and Zendaya give great performances, possibly the best of their careers. Obviously, they have a lot of scenes where they had to memorize long monologues, and they excelled during those scenes. The dialogue in the film is another great aspect, even though there are a bunch of lines that just spit out exposition for things we never see. Lastly, the cinematography was beautiful and helped add to the intensity of certain scenes.

With that said, “Malcolm and Marie” is still insufferable. It’s like the argument scene from “Marriage Story” but drawn out for almost two hours and without the realism of that movie. It makes absolutely no sense that these people would ever stay together. The level of toxicity is ridiculous, and both of these people would easily be charged with (non-violent) domestic abuse, especially Marie. Marie is super annoying and a total nightmare of a person. I know that was the filmmaker’s intention, but by making his lead character Satan, he sacrificed all credibility because I can’t see how someone like Marie would ever have a relationship with a human being.

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WRITER/DIRECTOR SAM LEVINSON

Let’s discuss the director Sam Levinson. He’s clearly talented, but still, how pretentious does a filmmaker have to be to think that a movie this vicious (not to mention needlessly black-and-white) is cinema? “Malcolm & Marie” makes Levinson seem like the type of person who thinks “Pink Flamingos” is beautiful. It’s sad that I don’t want to see another film made by him ever again, but I know if I do see one of his movies, I’ll leave with a migraine.

Unless you enjoy ripping your hair out and feeling your heartbeat increase, don’t see “Malcolm & Marie.” However, I do recommend watching a brief compilation of Zendaya and Washington acting their hearts out in the film. January and February, as always, are filled with mediocre to garbage movies. Thankfully, this is on the mediocre side of the spectrum.

Grade: C-

My review of John David Washington’s most recent movie, “Tenet”: https://reel-opinion.com/2021/01/08/tenet-review/

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