Malcolm & Marie (2021)

★★★ | by

Posted on Feb 7, 2021

© Dominic Miller | Felicia Tolbert | Netflix


Smoldering tensions and painful revelations push a filmmaker and his girlfriend toward a romantic reckoning.

I will start by saying that I loved the cinematography. Its lighting of the actor’s both interior and exterior shots were phenomenal. The featured image above is a still from the movie around 40 minutes in. Its lighting of Washington in the background is jaw-dropping.

I thoroughly enjoyed the camera being outside the house at the beginning, and the shift to inside when the problems start between the two characters. The camera representing the audience was clever and it was that side of the film that was engaging for me. The characters, however, definitely didn’t do it for me.

John David Washington and Zedenya are very talented people. Fortunately, we see glimpses of their talent through the long and exhausting monologues. There was a scene in which Sam (Washington) rants about the LA Times woman and the review she had written. Sam ceased to collapse to the floor in exhaustion. I felt every bit of Sam’s exhaustion. The monologues were at times reminiscent of amateur Shakespeare plays that go on and on.

There was humour but I am not sure those are from the brilliance of improvisation from Washington or it was written into the script. The only other negative was that it ran for an hour and forty minutes, and the film could do with shaving twenty minutes from its runtime.

This was a frustrating, exhausting watch but you see sprinkles of brilliance from a writing, performance, and technical perspective.

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