MALCOLM AND MARIE – “Emotionally exhausting”

MALCOLM & MARIE (L-R): ZENDAYA as MARIE, JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON as MALCOLM. NETFLIX © 2021

RATING

DIRECTOR

Sam Levinson (Assassination Nation – 2018)

STARRING

  • John David Washington as Malcolm
  • Zendaya as Marie

SYNOPSIS

A filmmaker and his girlfriend return home following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what's sure to be imminent critical and financial success. The evening suddenly takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the strength of their love.

REVIEW SUMMARY

Sam Levinson’s Malcolm and Marie is many things, but none more so than emotionally exhausting. You see, the movie, presented in super sleek black and white (it’s like a Calvin Klein print ad come to life), is maybe as close as you can get to an anti-rom-com. Yes, this is a story of love, but it’s also a story of love loss - and every single thing in-between. It’s basically an hour and forty-six-minute therapy session without the therapist. So yes, expect lots of talking- lots and lots of talking. Oh, and arguing - and ranting – and crying – and…well, you get the idea. And while it definitely feels genuine (thanks to Levinson’s bitingly sharp dialogue), it’s not always interesting. For every attention-grabbing monologue, there’s an eye-rolling tirade or two (and no, I’m not just hating on the “film critic” diatribe). But, of course, in a 2-person/real-time film of this nature, it all comes down to the performances. Luckily, John David Washington and Zendaya are both very much up for the job here. And while it’s all very exhausting to watch, it must have been even more so to perform! So, with raw emotions running high, this is a movie that requires more than a few deep breathes. Unfortunately, if you are like me, the calm will likely never come over you – even when the movie itself finds some semblance of peace.

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