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Zendaya and John David Washington in Malcolm & Marie on Netflix drama

Great actors within an average movie

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Malcom hugs Marie from behind
Zendaya and John David Washington in Malcolm & Marie.

Malcom and Marie is a Netflix drama. It stars John Washington as Malcom and Zedaya stars as Marie, Malcom’s girlfiend. The film intents to be something worth talking about. That is pretty much what the 2 main characters do. For some, it may be a rejuvenating thing to watch. The giggles, arguments or rants are some of the most stimulating joys of cinema. Dialogs such as these reveal the character’s growth and spin out further ideas.

So how come Malcolm and Marie have so little to say ?

The Netflix drama has an interesting is intriguing and the performers are vibrant however the show is tedious. It’s one of the few movies to finish production during a global pandemic. Historically speaking, the black and white film will leave a mark. It’s nice to look at but it’s just really dull.

Malcolm is played by Washington, an ambitious movie producer. Zendaya plays Malcolm’s girlfriend, Marie, which has had a past addiction. The film maker has had a history of obtaining mediocre reviews and choose the newest production’s premises influenced by his girlfriends addiction. In a scene where they return to their house, Malcolm plays James Brown’s “Down and Out in New York City”. He starts dancing. Marie is not very pleased.

Good execution but weak narrative

The two start eventually arguing. A little bit odd for a movie which just started, Washington dives into a rant in regards to film critics. The rant solely evolves on and around whether or not the critics understand his movies or the cinema industry in general.

Not really. Malcolm & Marie’s screenplay makes the odd move of having Washington launch into a rant, straight out of the gate, about film critics. Which, sure; film critics are insufferable, and I know this because I am one. But the manner and matter of his complaints are entirely related to how critics do or do not understand his work specifically, or cinema — put it in air quotes to catch the tone — more broadly, which really only establishes that Malcolm is more annoying than most critics.https://64e59e11.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Netflix Drama - Malcom and Marie
Zendaya and John David Washington in Malcolm & Marie. 

The meta-theme of the movie displays itself pretty quickly: are critics just failed filmmakers? Other topics arise such as: how much of life is inspired from art and vice-versa ? Is fame and fortune worth a goal if it sacrifices the loved ones?

Sadly, Malcolm & Marie does not debate these themes in an interesting way. The actors could keep an audience enticed by reading out loud a modern quantum mechanics book. They do try their best so that their questions don’t seem pointless but they never provide much elucidations on the topics. Their arguments follow up the entire night with a similar cadence. Throughout the accusations or questions they send back and forth long simmered resentments. Marie is mad at her boyfriend due to his history of constantly ignoring their relationship.

Malcom & Marie the Netflix drama could have explored the dynamics of the couple’s relationship to a greater depth by keeping the audience on their toes. Instead, the movie just reveals the two aren’t able to make better arguments than a junior year high school grad.

John David Washington and Zendaya in Malcom and Marie
John David Washington and Zendaya in Malcolm & Marie. 

It occasionally presents witfulness. One such scene is brought up in regards to white critics’ favorite approach for films with Black actors. Unfortunately, just like the other questions the movie displays, this one dies as well. It gives a vibe that the topic is just glanced at and never really understood. This makes the relationship struggle realistic in a way.

It feels as if it is a filmmaker’s view on distinguishing a particular class. No doubt it is a worthy movie filmed in COVID conditions but the quality could be improved.

Malcolm & Marie is streaming on Netflix.


Malcolm and Marie on Netflix: Zendaya and John David Washington deserve a better film – Vox

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