By Emma Dooney
As the first Hollywood feature produced in the Covid-19 pandemic, Malcolm and Marie prove that the show must go on even when the world shuts down.
The Malcolm and Marie story, which is now available to stream on Netflix, follows one couple’s argument on return from a glitzy movie premiere. The film, written by Sam Levinson and shot entirely in black-white, gives viewers a front-row seat to a relentless back and forth between Malcolm (John David Washington) and Marie (Zendaya). Watch them as they boomerang from one corner of the house to another in swings of vitriolic screaming and passionate sex.
The film opens with Malcolm, who has just made his successful directorial debut, indulging in an egotistical parade of self-praise. Infuriated by her partner’s cocky behavior, Marie lambasts him for a range of transgressions, including failing to thank her in his speech. Her criticism sparks a flame of fury, provoking Malcolm to slap each accusation back with a scathing reproach of her character.
The idea behind the plot came from Levinson's personal experience when he forgot to thank his wife at the premiere of his 2017 Assassination Nation. The argument that ensued the faux-pas inspired him to explore how one slip-up in a relationship can unearth a whole host of deep-rooted issues.
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With stunning performances from both actors, Malcolm and Marie could easily be sold as "that John and Zendaya movie." The Hollywood stars have been strongly praised for their convincing depictions of a toxic relationship in such a stripped-back setting — and for letting us escape our pandemic troubles for one evening.
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