"Malcolm & Marie" (2021) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #176 Gem Mint 10

"Malcolm & Marie" (2021)

Director: Sam Levinson

Writer: Sam Levinson

Starring: Zendaya & John David Washington

Rated: R for pervasive language and sexual content

Runtime: 1h 46m

Genre: Drama | Romance

Country: United States

Language: English

Available on: Various VOD platforms / Netflix

"A director and his girlfriend's relationship is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and face each other's turmoil during one long night."

You might like this if you like: Dramas, Romance, Sam Levinson, 'Euphoria', Zendaya, John David Washington, Cinematography

John David Washington (left) & Zendaya (right) in 'Malcolm & Marie' (2021)

As a big fan of HBO’s ‘Euphoria’, I couldn’t wait to see what director Sam Levinson, son of Barry Levinson, had in store next. Check out my review for ‘Euphoria’ for more background on this.

I had seen the trailer only because I was so excited and at the time didn’t know exactly when it would be released but it was just advertised (early in 2021 when we didn’t know as much) as a film shot entirely during COVID which I found intriguing on top of already a fan of Levinson’s as well as Zendaya’s and John David Washington’s. I mean, just those two? Literally only two actors? I loved the idea of that. We’ve gotten that in cinema before, just doesn’t feel as common these days.

Zendaya in 'Malcolm & Marie' (2021)

When I finally got to watch it when it came out, I loved how much Levinson made use of the space with visuals and kept it so interesting to me yet you knew he and the film team had all these limitations

I do get this might not be a film for everyone. I think it’s a fascinating observation of one night with this couple. It can get uncomfortable, like real life can of course, so I get this isn’t the most escapism film if you’re looking for that.

Zendaya and John David Washington were so real to me. Maybe because I relate to the filmmaker aspect, but their chemistry and the dialogue Levinson wrote just collided into this explosively interesting little film. Been a fan of both of theirs, but I felt like I got to see a new side of them with this one.

Zendaya (left) & John David Washington (right) in 'Malcolm & Marie' (2021)

It’s a visual masterpiece for me to watch, the black and white just highlights it all so strongly. Somehow you still want to eat Mac and Cheese by the end of it.

Written by Sam Gall on Dec 21, 2021

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"With its terrific performances, resonating dialogue, and elegant single-setting production, the film compels us to see beyond a couple clamoring across the house and acknowledge that a perpetually underestimated woman has found her voice." - Candice Frederick, Elle

"Malcolm & Marie is a challenging film, but not necessarily in the way that might be considered a compliment." - Cate Young, Thirty, Flirty + Film

"[Sam Levinson] makes tangible many ideas that would have otherwise remained trapped in the characters' dialogues, and it's because of details like this that I believe the film works. [Full review in Spanish]" - Fernanda Solórzano, Letras Libres

"Even though [Zendaya and Washington] pull off charged, magnetic performances, Malcolm & Marie is still some pretentious, spiteful noise." - Craig D. Lindsey, Crooked Marquee

Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:

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