Malcolm & Marie review – God, the talking. All the talking. jibber-jabber

January 28, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
2

Summary

Let me summarize Malcolm & Marie for you: every time one of the two characters has to urinate, they have a long, endless fight. God, the talking. All the talking.

2

Summary

Let me summarize Malcolm & Marie for you: every time one of the two characters has to urinate, they have a long, endless fight. God, the talking. All the talking.

Let me summarize Malcolm & Marie for you: every time one of the two characters has to urinate, they have a long, endless fight. God, the talking. All the talking. I usually love a dialogue-driven movie, but the only time the film gives the audience a much-needed relief is when John David Washington’s Malcolm has a mouth full of Zendeya’s sheer pantyhose-covered vagina in his mouth.

Writer/director Sam Levinson structures the story of the film around the couple’s bladder problems, so much so I’m suspecting one is diabetic and the other must have a urinary tract infection. Malcolm has just had the greatest moment of his professional life. Unfortunately, he pulled a Swank and forgot to thank his girlfriend, Marie. She does not take it well and he is empathetic in his responses. She wants credit for being his inspiration for his script and he thinks she is mentally off her rocker while he chows down a bowl of Mac & Cheese she just made him. One would wonder if they just stopped and got themselves a double-double at the In & Out burger they could have avoided the fight entirely.

Levinson’s script goes on from there, but like most fights, circles around and around, never moving forward. It’s frustratingly inert even though dialogue-heavy, and never goes anywhere interesting or even productive. We all know he should have thanked her and we don’t learn anything about the characters other than the original background information already established. Some may say that’s authentic, in a way, but that doesn’t mean it makes for a good movie. It is head-scratchingly inert. You would expect each scene to pull back a layer, like on an artichoke, revealing another interesting plot point or fact to make the narrative more complex and fascinating— that never happens here.

I admired Washington’s ability to rant and create some genuine humor. He delivers a couple of powerful verbal haymakers that go way over the line into berating and verbal abuse. Zendeya has a much-talked-about scene that borders on extraordinary and is the highlight of the tedious, never-ending experience. Malcolm & Marie is a good 30 minutes too long, could have been easily edited down, and would have been a much more tolerable experience.

I generally find it harder than most critics to tolerate an inside Hollywood film, but that didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment. It also had nothing to do with the script criticizing a critic, because frankly, it made some valid points. I even thought the whole controversy of the age gap between the couple was laughable (I mean, has anyone ever watch a film starring Harrison Ford?).

It’s the fact Malcolm & Marie goes nowhere, and not very fast, by having so much to talk about with so little to say.

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