Commentary on the film Malcom & Marie

Malcolm & Marie, in my opinion, is a masterpiece. It’s thought provoking, rage inducing, and most of all, full of immaculate dialogue, beautiful cinematography, and has a soundtrack that tells a story of its own. Zendaya and John David Washington are both amazing and intense throughout the whole movie. They embody the characters so well, it’s amazing to watch.

The opening scene is beautiful. It’s quiet and sensual, a calm before the impeding storm of emotion and visceral joy and angst that both characters will bring into it. The first song played in the movie is “Down and Out in New York City” by James Brown. It sets a upbeat and lively mood for John David Washington’s character Malcolm, that starkly contrasts that aura of Zenday’s character Marie. This contrast is prevalent throughout the movie. Marie, in the first 13 minutes of the movie is portrayed as a picturesque stoic woman, who seems to be in a contemplative but annoyed state. Not to mention how aloof and mysterious she seems. It is almost like she is just bubbling under the surface but refuses to do so just yet. 

While Malcom is upbeat and borderline obsessive with how well his newest movie did and how the critics will view it. He is cocky and egotistic with a personality that fills the room as he rants and raves about the possible reviews for his movie. And Marie, is there to bring him back to earth, to reality. Not to mention the dialogue in this film is absolutely stimulating. It makes you think and ponder. There is so much commentary in the script about film and how black director’s projects are viewed in a different lens than their white counter parts. 

As Malcom says, “ I want to be part of a larger conversation about filmmaking without always having white writers making it about race. I can already see the reviews, how this film is an ‘acute study of the horrors of systemic racism in the health care industry.’ Instead of it being a commercial film about a drug-addicted girl trying to get her shit together.” I had never thought about film through this lens. As in black directors also getting boxed into the idea that all of the films they create have to deal with race in some way. In comparison to how white directors movies are seen as just that film and movies, not political commentary unless blatantly stated or shown otherwise. 

The first 13 minutes of the film are bliss in comparison to the rest of the movie, which goes in a downward spiral of emotion and back and forth digs between both Malcom and Marie. We begin to see them unravel right before our eyes. We see Marie as a strong but broken recovering addict, whose life has just been played for the whole world to see. We see Malcom, as a idealistic man with his head in the clouds and an ego way big for him to handle. He’s rude and unrelenting, with Marie as his only means to humble himself. 

By the end of the movie, we see that without Marie, Malcolm is basically nothing. He has no muse, no one to understand him or stick with him when he gets too much. The whole movie, in my opinion is about Marie. I won’t go to deep into the movie or plot without spoiling the ideas and messages it gets across, you just have to watch it all yourself. The beauty of the movie is hard to put into words.