Malcolm & Marie Movie Review
Malcolm & Marie is the 2021 American black-and-white romantic drama film written, produced and directed by Sam Levinson. The main characters of the film are John David Washington and Zendaya.
Malcolm & Marie, a one night stand, one story and many single plans, is trying to show the “big picture” in a black and white representation of the story of two nihilistic characters who hate each other so much that they cannot separate from the outside world and focus on them completely. Malcolm director of the promising (John David Washington) girlfriend Marie (Zendaya) and in the night he returned from the premiere of her new film, taking place in the premiere but the depth of the relationship on a series based on the roots of forgetfulness and anger toward a huge problem emerges.
The film is also gorgeous, with cinematography by Marcell Rév that presents the film as timeless. The movie was shot in black-and-white on Kodak film, which gives it a glamour reminiscent of classic Hollywood romances. Though the camera often zooms in to capture the emotion on the characters’ faces, there are also wide shots that include one character watching the other, which shows how Malcolm and Marie are perceiving each other, how subjective perception affects the way people act and react even in private moments. Labrinth’s soundtrack of R&B and jazz adds to the classic feel, though it’s most effective when it lingers in the background, less than the musical setpieces. The most prominent musical scene, when Marie plays a Dionne Warwick song to represent her mood, feels more anachronistic and corny than when Malcolm sings along to James Brown.
The arguments in the film are no-holds-barred, with Malcolm especially tending to attack Marie with her most painful moments. The cruelty in Malcolm’s arguments escalates to the point where it’s disrespectful, and uncomfortable to watch both him revelling in getting a win and Marie trying to keep a cool face through the hurt. When the review of his movie is posted, Malcolm reads it aloud: “One begins to question his intentions in revelling in the trauma of his Black female heroine for so long.”
Marie is presented as an enigma. She has great moments where she lets loose, but she’s never really unraveled the way Malcolm is. By the end, we’ve seen his conflict at his identity representation as a mainstream filmmaker, his tendency to pull out a gun in a knife fight/argument, and his selfishness and instinctive cruelty while taking the woman he loves for granted. But we don’t see anything of Marie outside the relationship. Most of her backstory and her perceived insecurities are revealed through Malcolm monologuing at her, rather than through her own actions or dialogue.