Malcolm and Marie

Showing on Netflix.

Written and directed by Sam Levinson. Malcolm is a film maker, Marie, sometime actress and Malcolm’s girlfriend, return to their production company rented home in the Californian hills after attending the premier of his new film. There they wait for the first review and what begins as a discussion about the night soon turns into a detailed and often unpleasant examination of their relationship.

There have certainly been mixed reviews for this film, some feel a little over the top, but in many cases the issues with the film are fair. However, I certainly sit at the more positive end of the scale with more to enjoy in Malcolm and Marie than endure.

I won’t pretend this is easy to get on with, the relationship between the two often seems toxic and unpleasant and does leave you thinking, what on earth are they doing together? There is long, very long, monologues as the characters talk at each other and there is very little to lighten the mood. That said, you do get two very watchable performers, John David Washington continues to be a very engaging screen presence and Zendaya is an increasingly interesting actor, talented and not afraid to take on tough characters separating her from the life of Disney, Spiderman and The Greatest Showman. Both certainly give their all.

The choice of black and white adds to the atmosphere of the film, with the contrasts of the images matching the contrasts of the evening, where we switch between love, almost abusive manipulation and a few light moments (Malcolm’s reaction to the first review I found particularly entertaining).

While this clearly is not and will not appeal to everyone and it’s heavy going. The two leads do deliver impressive performances and give an interesting insight into a complex, if somewhat melodramatic, relationship. It is well made and for me much more to admire than dislike.

If you want light hearted cinematic fun, give this a miss, but if you want to see two talented performers perform and don’t mind the heavy going, it may work. Approach with caution!

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