Review: Zendaya and John David Washington are captivating in ‘Malcolm & Marie’

The two offer an argument for the ages in Netflix’s latest hit

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Both actors have attracted major Oscar buzz for their performances.

Every few years, one family-dynamic drama comes around awards season and captures the attention of all moviegoers. In most recent memory, Netflix’s “Marriage Story” earned glowing reviews and mass attention for the leading performances and heartbreaking story.

As the 2021 awards season approaches closer and closer to the Oscars, all eyes are on “Malcolm and Marie,” the beautiful, intense black-and-white drama. The film’s cast consists solely of Zendaya (HBO’s “Euphoria”) and John David Washington (Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”), two of the most in-demand actors in the market as of late.

The film is centered around film director Malcolm (Washington) and his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya) who have just returned home from a film premiere of Malcolm’s. As they anxiously wait for reviews to be released. While it may be a simple concept at first glance, the film transpires to be anything but.

Writer/Director Sam Levinson manages to bring out the best in both Zendaya and Washington, as they push the audience through heartbreak, violence, humor and passion throughout one long night. As the conversations between the two continue forward the audience is forced to continue guessing how the couple’s night will end.

The film showcases the true strains on a relationship, with moments that are painfully accurate for many couples, as they can be related to throughout. While the two have a beautiful relationship throughout the film that seems to put passion over everything else, they’re put to the test as the night contains on and the knives come out.

Aside from the stunning performances put forth, another notable takeaway is the awe-inspiring cinematography. The film is shot in shimmering black-and-white with elegant closeups and an aesthetic that can only be matched by their glistening movie industry lifestyle.

One aspect of the film that may turn many away is the use of a “bottle” style throughout the film, as it consists solely of the two in their home over the course of a dreadful evening. Rather than being propelled by action or other events, the film is pushed forward entirely by the two leading actors.

While the film may not be for everyone as the film may feel restricted by its own four walls in the film, “Malcolm and Marie” is well-paced and holds the audience’s attention for the entirety of the unbearable night for the two. This film is one to watch out for within the impending months as awards season approaches.

Review: 4/5

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