Malcolm & Marie (2021)

Malcolm & Marie (2021)

2021 R 106 Minutes

Drama | Romance

As a filmmaker and his girlfriend return home from his movie premiere, smoldering tensions and painful revelations push them toward a romantic reckoning.

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • d_riptide


    7 / 10
    “Malcolm & Marie”, one of the first few films shot during the pandemic, has very few content going into it but how much does it have pouring out of its supposedly overflowing cup meant to be an ode to dishonesty? A lot....but sometimes little too much and it got so much to the point that even though I like this, this was very very close to becoming my first big disappointment of 2021.

    I went into this movie prepared to absorb everything and for the most part, I did. There are a lot of bursts of narratives regarding race, Hollywood, sexism, ambition, appropriation, critics and relationships that inspire shouting matches on the surface but fulfills the purpose of this film being a character study: watching these two go fully unhinged about their beliefs and their irritability around each other is both unsettling and also informative depending what it’s meant to discuss. The camerawork is beautiful, the black and white color grading is stunning, music isn’t half bad, editing is relaxed and smooth, I found myself laughing a lot more than I expected to, there’s multiple long pretentious stilted non-sensical dialogue rants that feel so long and so gratuitous, I want to believe the film is self-aware of what it’s doing and while I like John David Washington’s performance, I fucking ADORE Zendaya in this movie and the chemistry she shared with him; in fact, I’m counting on her getting a Golden Globes nomination to her name next time around.

    But here‘s where I feel the need to talk out of my ass for a few seconds: In a film that’s centered entirely around authenticity, there isn’t a whole lot of it here. It doesn’t say much beyond the issues it brings up despite trying to take a contemporary spin on it and every time it has me right where it wants me, it has to overdo a particular moment and in doing so, makes me question the validity of the scene even I know it’s necessary. There’s this continuous strain between just playing it straight and overwriting everything which produces this walking-through-a-thick-swamp feeling that almost stinks up the entire structure: it knows what it wants to talk about but when it tries to juggle all of that together, not everything it says resonates through to me. Even if I FELT what they were saying or going through, AND BELIEVE ME, I DID, I was struggling with the believability that it really meant that or if it was fake. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this felt more like a stage play, an experimental deconstruction of every single little thing we view in our lives because I’m almost convinced that this film was critiquing ITSELF! It’s doing my work for me!

    Unpacks a lot of themes and juxtaposition with two of the best performances of the year, already, to boot. And yet, I fear it'll go locked away in the misguided fault of artsy films praised for its ambition but not its execution. The look and the atmosphere is very artsy but storyline-wise, it doesn’t say much beyond what we already know.