When the pandemic first hit, Hollywood shut down all but completely. ‘Tiger King’ was the only thing people had that was new and interesting, more and more movies were delayed until 2021 or in some cases, are still delayed. Then news started to leak out that writer/director for HBO’s lightning in a pill bottle ‘Euphoria’, Sam Levinson, was renting out a house in the middle of nowhere to film a movie with Zendaya and ‘Tenet’ and ‘Blackkklansman’ star John David Washington.
Enter ‘Malcolm & Marie’, a slow burn monologue driven drama about a film director and his wife coming home from his recent film premiere. Coming in at a 2 hr 45 min runtime, we get a in depth and personal look at a couple mired with jealousy, deceit, anger, but also a deep love for each other even though they make each other crazy.
Both Zendaya and John David Washington deliver impactful monologues and their acting alongside each other is good. I couldn’t really understand their relationship at first but further into the film it becomes a little more clear, but I still can’t see these characters as the good fit they appear to be on screen.
The film talks about critics and the arts at length, I’m sure a lot of the critics who had seen this were either already upset by the accusations Malcolm hurls at the audience or without a second of retrospective assume the films talking about ‘those other critics’. I agree with basically everything that was said, but I don’t think many will.
The film feels quarantined in itself. There isn’t much that can be done being inside a house and not being able to do much more than talk. Sure the writing is solid, but the runtime could certainly be cut down to a hour and a half and much of the repetitious scenes could be removed and the point would still be made. In fact, the runtime is what dilutes an audiences enjoyment because at a certain point, you get the point and are ready for the film to conclude.
Overall, ‘Malcolm & Marie’ makes a strong case for creative filmmaking with a pandemic causing so many restrictions. I wonder what this film would have become had those restrictions been lifted. But as it stands, It’s worth checking out if you like these actors but for the story you could probably skip it.