The concept does look good and it really is but the moment they argue over past incidents, the film starts to derail. The background is needed, sure, I get it but to ignore the actual topic of argument for very long and dig past incidents makes it stretchy.
Sam Levinson’s Malcolm and Marie is brilliantly shot. However, it feels like it talks about all its issues living under a very limited view as if it’s almost in a bubble. It may have been the longest night of Malcolm and Marie. It certainly was for the audience as 45 minutes over 1 hour doesn’t seem to run at the right pace, certainly felt three hours long couple fight. In a scene, Zendaya shows how authenticity matters and is equally important as much as perspective. I think the film or the maker needed to have such introspection as well as it clearly combines overlapping personalities and it looks interesting on paper and for some time on the screen as well but it gets really exhausting and somewhat baseless after a point of time.
The story revolves around John David Washington as Malcolm who is a film director who just got out of a successful movie launch. He is all like “ Yo I am so at top of the world right now because I achieved my dream that I am just gonna jazz up everything up and don’t care about anything else. “ Malcolm is toxic and the way Sam Levinson inserts those notions about several other directors, critics, and filmmaking also proves that the film never goes out of a certain specific bubble thinking. Whereas, Zendaya as Marie is the suffering girlfriend and she is recovering from her addiction. She can also be called one of the best strategist to win a debate. She is right and she actually deserves what she is demanding. However, by the time she makes him realize everything, we all get very exhausted. The film is shot beautifully in a monochromatic lens and the set design is masterful, not a single thing falls out of place or disturbs the lighting of the film.
Malcolm is so reluctant and doesn’t bother much about Marie. He knows he wants her, he says he loves her but in reality as Marie says “ he is the neediest as well as the least jealous man she has ever dated.” Malcolm just needs Marie, he doesn’t love her and there is a very broad yet invisible line between love and need when it comes to expressing them and clearly, Malcolm doesn’t know how to. Whereas, Marie is just the one that keeps him grounded and tells him what nobody else does. They both are there for each and they later reveal that they have been there for each other for very long but the way they fight with each other makes them look like they are just hanging because of need not because of love. The concept does look good and it really is but the moment they argue over past incidents, the film starts to derail. The background is needed, sure, I get it but to ignore the actual topic of argument for very long and dig past incidents makes it stretchy.
Now if someone between Malcolm and Marie wins an argument over a question of a past event. The film pauses for a while and in that pause, it almost announces a winner even if the important question is still lying in the air and it’s clearly not about who wins an argument over a past event(s). Zendaya and John both brought their A-game. They were clearly the perfect choice for the roles. The music was commendable and the jazz songs really hit well with the structure and choice of lens. Overall, Malcolm and Marie had interesting ideas that looked awesome on paper but on screen, they looked over-baked and clearly didn’t move as much as the makers wanted it to do. Certainly not another Marriage Story for me.
Cast : John David Washington, Zendaya
Director: Sam Levinson