Friday, March 12, 2021

Malcolm & Marie (2021)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Malcolm & Marie (2021)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Little Lamb, The Reasonable Bunch, Netflix
Director: Sam Levinson
Writer: Sam Levinson
Actors: John David Washington, Zendaya
Blurb from IMDb: A director and his girlfriend's relationship is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and await critics' responses.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was not surprised by Malcolm and Marie at all.
Between Assassination Nation (2018) and Euphoria (2019- ), I have high expectations of Sam Levinson (The Wizard of Lies, Another Happy Day, Operation: Endgame). He’s got an artistic mind and something big to say with everything he does.
In this case, there’s a scalding review of critics that I can’t disagree with. I went into it a bit with my Chaos Walking (2021) review. It’s one of the biggest reasons Cat and I don’t like to be called critics. We like to write as if we were friends to our readers and just throwing out suggestions. We’re not here to cater to the minority of film-goers that only care about a flick if it fits their film-school perspectives of cinematic perfection.
Sometimes it’s about the meaning of a film, sometimes it’s the immersion. Most of the time, it’s the sheer entertainment value that gets us.

Malcolm and Marie was amazing. I’ll admit, my mind trailed off a few times while watching, but it’s not the film’s fault. I’m having a low focus day and the toned down – more realistic – quality of the film wasn’t the kind of thing that could hold my concentration during an episode. If you’re neurodiverse, like me, you may want to hold off on watching this one until you have a good day.

Even with my personal issue, I found myself unable to look away from most scenes. The micro-movements of Zendaya (Euphoria, Spider-Man: Far from Home, The Greatest Showman) and John David Washington’s (BlacKkKlansman, Tenet, Ballers) faces as they argued were outstanding.
I’ve been in heated arguments like what was portrayed, and I felt those movements. Some of it was shit you can’t fake; like the barest tremble of a cheek muscle while trying to hold back tears.
The actors truly brought the story to another level, which is impressive because the script was one of the best-written pieces I’ve seen in a long time.
Every moment of discourse felt so natural that it was almost as if I was watching something I shouldn’t have access to. Like every private moment was being seen through the eyes of someone standing in the room with them.
As much as I loved this movie, it’s not going to be for everyone. I’d still recommend it.

Cat’s Point of View:
As the credits rolled for Malcolm and Marie, I sat stunned for a moment. It was complicated to unpack everything that just happened.
I have to say this is one of those rare times that I know I have watched something really profound, and I’m struggling to put actual words to the experience.
Powerful. Raw. Those are the first two descriptors that would come to mind. The word ‘authentic’ gets bandied about within the context of the movie, and it’s only too fitting to describe it as well. It’s almost a meta experience - a movie about a couple having it out in the wake of a movie premiere.
The cinematography was absolutely stunning. I loved the fluidity of the location they shot and how it was maximized through the angles of indoor and outdoor scenery. The black and white helped drill down focus to the story unfolding. I found it easier to laser in on the couple – and it spoke volumes in symbolism as well.

I felt like I was watching something real, and it occasionally made me uncomfortable as if I was an interloper in the room of something very private happening.
The story was so stripped down and visceral with dialogue that felt genuine and flowed almost like a dance of words. There were so many little nuances that offered moments of levity as well as heartbreak.
It’s hard as hell for a cast of two to carry an entire, nearly two-hour, movie, but John David Washington and Zendaya made it look effortless.
I can’t say that I will ever watch this film again, however. Intense hardcore drama isn’t usually my thing. I am glad that I did experience Malcolm and Marie all the same; and I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 57%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 67%
Metascore – 53/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.1/10
IMDB Score – 6.7/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5
Movie Trailer:

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