Malcolm & Marie – One Long, Toxic, and Exhausting Lover’s Quarrel

Sh-Ron Almeida Anchor Staff

Photo via Netflix

After returning home from his movie premiere, a filmmaker, Malcolm, and his girlfriend, Marie, are forced to confront the pent-up emotions and revelations they’ve hidden from themselves and each other. Sometimes, we must consider a few things about relationships. When there are two people who form a strong romantic bond, whether in fiction or reality, is it authentic? Sadly, it’s not as simple as that. These relationships aren’t always going to be the perfect fairy tales. Sometimes, it can be a tragic, poisonous ticking time-bomb that nearly destroys both sides. But the film did a poor job depicting a turbulent relationship. Instead, it spent the entire runtime pitting the two lovers against each other through vicious, verbal feuding for us to feel anything other than emotional and physical fatigue. For the most part, the actors behind the characters dished out strong performances throughout the movie. You can tell that Zendaya and John David Washington were doing their absolute best to work with what they had to bring these two dysfunctional characters to life. Considering they played important roles in their previous works, J.D.W in Spike Lee’s “The BlacKKKlansman” and Zendaya in HBO’s hit “Euphoria,” I expected nothing less. They both expressed all the quiet contemplation, sarcastic sharpness, and scornful edge that Malcolm and Marie had for each other. This is where the positives end.

The negatives are one too many, with the main one being the central couple themselves. It’s a complete mystery how these two ended up together. From the moment they return home from the premiere, Malcolm breaks into celebratory dancing while a listless Marie is outside smoking, indifferent. Right from the start, there is a disconnect between them. Once the lovers do finally let their emotions fly out in the open, you just want them to stop arguing and go to bed already. The script goes out of its way to make them sound too cool and masterful with edgy, as they spoke angry, foul-mouthed diatribes about movie critics. The trailer from before the official release gave me hope for this film. Perhaps I shouldn’t have believed in the hype, as Marie says later. It probably would have fared a lot better as a stage play than an hour and forty-six long flick. For those who want to see two people throw down mic-dropping spats against the other, this will be a fun time for you. If not, find a romance drama worth your time and energy.

Malcolm & Marie was released on February 5, 2021 on Netflix.


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