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“Malcolm & Marie”: A Simple Movie That Stimulates Deep Reflections On Its Plot

"Malcolm & Marie" is the new Netflix movie directed by Sam Levinson, also known for his direction in the "Euphoria" series. Starring Zendaya (Marie) and John David Washington (Malcolm), the movie is supported by the two actors, has only a house as the scenario, it’s a black and white movie and it was filmed during the pandemic. However, even though this seems too simple, "Malcolm & Marie" delivers deep dialogues, strong scenes and a story that holds you from start to end.

"Malcolm & Marie" starts after the premiere night of Malcolm’s movie. A night that should be about celebration becomes turbulent and full of conflicts. The fight begins because the character, who is a filmmaker, didn’t thank Marie during his speech, since he won an award, but several developments take place during the film that makes us realize that this situation is much deeper and painful for both of them.

Since their first fight, it is possible to realize an unhealthy relationship between the two protagonists. Even with great intimacy, the lack of communication is a big failure between the couple. In addition, it is evident that the love that they feel for each other is destructive. There is strong co-dependency between them, which leads the protagonists to hurt each other through the words, especially Malcolm. John David Washington’s character is a moviemaker who has just released his first successful film. He is a really explosive person who speaks without thinking about it, which ends up deeply hurting Marie, as we can see in several scenes, for example, *spoiler alert* the bathtub scene, where Malcolm goes beyond limits, insults his wife badly, and has lines that make Marie totally uncomfortable.

Zendaya’s character Marie is a young woman who has been through a lot in life, she is a former chemically dependent and an actress. Unlike Malcolm, she absorbs most of the disregards directed to her and has calmer attitudes in their fights. 

The script addresses very pertinent topics, such as abusive relationships, problems of the cinematographic industry, race issues and drug addiction. Some of these themes aren’t addressed directly, but it’s possible to perceive them through the analysis of the monologues, which has a lot of metaphors and metalanguage. The monologues are often approached as theatrical texts, which allows a deep reflection on the whole situation shown in the movie.

The soundtrack is also important for the development of the movie, since the songs complement the scenes and sometimes replace certain dialogues. We can see this happening in the scene after a big fight, where they are in silence and Marie starts to listen and sing to Get Rid of Him by Dionne Warwick for Malcolm.

Malcolm & Marie is a film that has a very beautiful visual aesthetic, the black and white provides beauty to the movie, the shots and the focus of the camera during the scenes are some of the highlights of the movie. The movements together with the dialogues and the amazing acting make us feel inside the film and closer to the characters, which allows greater interaction with the story that is being told. 

Sam Levinson showed that it doesn’t take great resources to make a quality movie. Malcolm & Marie provided strong scenes, great performances and allowed the reflection on unhealthy relationships, something that needs to be debated more and more in society.



The article above was edited by Larissa Mariano.

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Isadora Costa

Casper Libero '24

Journalism student passionate about any form of art. Telling stories fascinates and that's what I'm trying to do here.
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