Written by: Patrick Howard | February 4th, 2021
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.
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.