• Josh Martin-Jones

Malcolm & Marie Review (★★★★)

Sam Levinson teams up with Zendaya and John David Washington for an achingly romantic drama in which a filmmaker (Washington) and his girlfriend (Zendaya) return home following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what’s sure to be an 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. Working with cinematographer Marcell Rev, Levinson creates a film of rare originality, an ode to the great Hollywood romances as well as a heartfelt expression of faith in the medium's future.

The film itself is an incredibly intimate experience. The film starts from peering into this couple’s evening beginning from the outside in via the viewport of the windows right up until we make it inside the house. The two have returned home from a premiere where Malcolm was met with great response, but the celebrations begin to turn sour when the two begin to conflict – but not until Zendaya eats her Mac & Cheese. Many things about the couple’s past come out in the open as the two begin to have confessionals and argue, and can I just add that Malcolm & Marie did it so much better than LockedDown’s attempt to achieve the same arguments in their interpretation of pandemic filmmaking – which you can read about in my review here

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

John David Washington is an actor who I’ve really enjoyed watching recently, with his last starring role in Tenet and prior to that, his role in BlacKKKlansman, and I think one thing that makes this film worth watching is Washington and Zendaya’s performances together. Throughout the film, we see the highs and lows of this couple, from arguing about trust and devotion to one another to the next minute fornicating on the sofa – the film gives a great look at how this relationship works, and Washington and Zendaya make that possible – because both are such fantastic actors.


I’ve yet to watch Euphoria who both Levinson and Zendaya are big role players in the series with Levinson being the creator, and Zendaya the protagonist., The series is definitely a title that has intrigued me – especially with the buzz it gets on social media. The series led to Zendaya’s Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series Emmy award last year – so it must be good, surely? The film provides us, well myself anyways with a different perspective of Zendaya’s acting – as I won’t lie my only real experience of Zendaya movies include The Greatest Showman and the Spider-Man films. Another party from Euphoria, Labrynth provides the soundtrack to the film.

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

I understand the whole point of the film is to highlight the couple’s relationship and their dysfunctional love, but beyond the numerous monologues – there isn’t much to the film apart from the performances of the two actors. I also find the decision to shoot the film in black and white extremely interesting, because it creates a contrast with the couple’s relationship which is not as simple or monochrome as black and white – which is such a great touch.


Overall, the film is a good watch carried by great direction and two wonderful performances, and I would recommend. Unsure if general audiences would react to this in the same way as cinephiles but if you are interested by the look of it – go for it!


Overall Rating: ★★★★


Slowly getting to grips with writing film reviews, but I’m getting there – have a few planned for this month, so do keep an eye out! You can follow me over on Twitter (@JoshM_Jones)

Until next time, Happy Streaming!

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