Coming from the fame of her Emmy win for one of the best TV shows of recent times, Zendaya teams up with John David Washington, who is equally one of the rising stars of Hollywood to star in this intimate rollercoaster of emotions in Malcolm & Marie. When Malcolm (Washington) and his partner Marie (Zendaya) come home from Malcolm’s directorial premiere, they both await the reviews for his film. Whilst they wait, emotions start to ride high and their relationship is tested overnight as they begin to go to war with each other’s opinions of each other.
Directed by Sam Levinson, who created and wrote Euphoria, teams up with Zendaya yet again and shows us that we may have a new great screenwriter on our hands. After watching Euphoria, it was clear that he possesses the ability to build up a character and get the best out of his actors. This continues in stylistic fashion in Malcolm & Marie. The film doesn’t take its time getting to the action. From the get go, it’s clear as day that both characters are as broken and fragile as each other. The war of words rides a rollercoaster throughout. We get moments in the film that allow us to recover from their onslaught on words as they quickly forgive each other for what they had said. Peace doesn’t last in their household as raw emotions are clearly still high and they battle against each other again, and again, and again. It’s a true masterclass in writing by Levinson. We couldn’t imagine any other actors at this moment in time that could resonate and deliver these lines so perfectly.
John David Washington, coming in late on the acting scene after his professional American Football career has quickly made a name for himself with brilliant performances in BlacKkKlansman and last year’s action blockbuster Tenet. As Malcolm, Washington continues to show his raw energy and charisma that charms the audience and brilliantly recites pages of dialogue with ease. Zendaya, in only her fifth feature film, dazzles as Marie. Fresh from her Emmy win, she continues her fine form in this film and should be considered for an Academy Award. Zendaya shows how easy it is for her to switch between multiple emotions, almost at the flick of a switch. It seems that Levinson is able to mastermind tremendously powerful performances from Zendaya. This is a working relationship that continues to grow, and the sky is only the limit for the 24 year old actor.
Overall, Malcolm & Marie is a fantastic example of a low budget movie made good. One of my favourite conversation piece movies of the past few years and a tantalising duo performance that both exhaust and pump you up simultaneously. A rare feat that can be achieved in a movie but one that has been accomplished in this Netflix movie. Malcolm & Marie is available on Netflix right now.
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