The Netflix film Malcolm and Marie is about an intimate and emotional conversation between a couple that shatters that glorifying image of love, that it is always pure and magical. The film highlights this message that everyone’s love is different.
The film comes as a stark contrast to the typical notion of love we’re accustomed to at a young age (Disney castle and true love’s kiss, or the idea that love is easy with no faults).
The film is directed by Sam Levinson, the same man that brought the popular HBO series Euphoria to life. The character Marie is played by Zendaya and Malcolm is played by John David Washington. It starts with the couple coming home from the premiere of Malcolm’s movie: While Marie prepares his dinner, Malcolm struts around the living room with pride, boastfully bragging about how the critics were taken aback by his film.
Although the night seems to be one of celebration, Marie, his muse and romantic partner, pointed out that he didn’t thank her in his speech for a movie he made based on her life and her drug addiction. The conversation starts to brew anger, insecurity, and observations as the movie progresses. It culminates with the couple’s conversation that raises the point that one partner is needy or the other just doesn’t care anymore.
At one poignant moment, Marie said to Malcolm, “I feel like once you know someone’s there for you, and once you know that they love you, you never actually think of them again. It’s not until you’re about to lose someone, that you finally pay attention.”
Honestly, the movie is bad in the sense that it doesn’t conform to the idea of love that society is used to. It contributes to the radical deconstruction of the social constructs that fairytales and romance movies have spent decades building.
Buzzfeed described the movie as “half-baked,” saying that “[the characters’] arguments play on an endless loop and are punctuated with long, exhausting soliloquies.” The news outlet also points out that the writing may just be the fault of Levinson, the director, who is seemingly wrapped up in his own “self-involved frustrations.” However, the fact that the movie is on an endless loop is intentional;it is there to make the viewers feel as frustrated and exhausted as the couple, who are arguing about the same thing.
The admirable thing about the movie is that it shows that love is a compromise. Tracing back to how Malcolm’s movie is about Marie’s drug addiction, it gives insight into how committed in the relationship he is to stand by her during that time of hardship. But it takes a toll on their relationship: “You want control because you can’t imagine the reason I’m with you is because I love you. I just love you, baby. I don’t need you,” Malcolm said to Marie after she called him the “neediest person she’s ever dated.”
This movie is about the conversations that happen behind closed doors, and how two people can be so angry with each other, but in the end, they have each other than not at all. Malcolm and Marie are two people who love each other very much but they sit to ask themselves why they are still together after everything they’ve been through.
Throughout the movie, Marie walks away from Malcolm throughout each argument they have and he always goes looking for her. Looking for his partner and his muse because without her he’s lost.
If you believe love is easy, then this is not the movie for you. But if you don’t, if you’re willing to accept the fact that relationships are laborious and take a lot of hard work to furnish, then sit back and enjoy the film!