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Film Review: “Malcolm & Marie” Lives and Breathes Through Its Dynamic Stars

Written by: Patrick Howard | February 4th, 2021

Film poster: “Malcolm & Marie”

Malcolm & Marie (Sam Levinson, 2021) 3 out of 4 stars.

Sam Levinson teams up again with his Euphoria lead star, Zendaya, and John David Washington (Tenet). These three Hollywood powerhouses have come together and have crafted an impressively intimate ode to the romantic dramas of yesteryear. Zendaya and Washington play Marie and Malcolm. The loving couple has just returned from the successful premiere of Malcolm’s new film and look forward to the imminent critical praise. However, the evening takes an unexpected turn when revelations of Malcolm and Marie’s relationship surface, testing the strength of their love.

When the weight of the dramatic tension alone begins to wane, Zendaya and Washington continue to carry the film to the theme of the fragility of one’s ego and a person’s commitment to their significant other amid emotional strife. Sam Levinson embraces the restrictions of the house setting, but he knows when the conflict must branch out to retain interest from the audience. Zendaya and Washington combat each other like two skilled fencers who are in tune with their opponent’s every lunge and parry. Levinson lets these two dynamo performers flex their undeniable chemistry and allows them to break away and sort out their character’s turmoil in their respective corners.

l-r: Zendaya and John David Washington in MALCOLM & MARIE. Cr. Dominic Miller ©Netflix

Malcolm & Marie is a suitable showcase for two actors who are on the rise and will soon take Hollywood by storm. The raw anger and frustration on-screen is appropriately uncomfortable and may drum up tension in couples who are watching the film on Netflix. Regardless of the potential relationship upset, I hold this film has as unquestionable proof that Zendaya and Washington are young talents that need to be viewed with the utmost respect.


Patrick Howard has been a cinephile since age seven. Alongside 10 years of experience in film analysis and criticism, he is a staunch supporter of all art forms and believes their influence and legacy over human culture is vital. Mr. Howard takes the time to write his own narrative stories when he can.

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