So, after screenshotting the movie’s advertisement on Instagram from last year, I finally found the time to sit down and watch Malcolm and Marie. Before I go into this review, I would recommend you watch it for yourself before reading this blog as this might be a spoiler.
First of all, the movie is black and white, but it had my full attention to the end. Of course, when it started I was a bit taken back as I was not expecting much from a black and white movie, but Zendaya is in it, and since this is her first leading role on the big screen I had to give it a view.
I had no idea I would enjoy a black and white movie in the 21st century. The movie is creativity at its best. It features only two characters; both John David Washington who plays Malcolm and Zendaya who plays Marie. In my opinion, the movie is based on a relationship that has been striding on a thin thread from the very beginning. Malcolm is a screenwriter and Marie, his girlfriend is a recovering drug addict and former actress.
Malcolm and Marie begin with Marie making mac and cheese after returning home from a celebratory movie premier. Malcolm’s movie is related to Marie’s life and he continuously rants about the conversation he had with one of the biggest movie critiques. It is obvious that even though she is listening; Marie is upset because she was not thanked for playing a part in the movie’s success. Malcolm and Marie is set in one location and consist of arguments and romantic make-ups of the couple.
To adequately describe my opinion on Netflix’s Malcolm and Marie I will be breaking this blog into sub-parts.
Ego and the Magic Words
The show taught me that there is a difference between communication and spurring offensive words which are sadly often forgotten or buried for a while by sweet words in a lot of relationships. All Marie wanted to hear were two words, “I’m sorry”, but Malcolm kept pushing the fight instead of saying what he knew she deserved…an apology. All she wanted was some gratitude or acknowledgment for the part she played in making the movie a success.
Sadly, Marie and Malcolm depict a lot of relationships in today’s society where one partner often feels unappreciated.
If there’s anything to learn from this year, and I hope from our little movie, it’s gratitude for every moment and every person we get to love. To stop and acknowledge the people in our lives who make it possible to do the work we do and honestly, make life worth living. It comes in many forms and sometimes it’s just a thank you.Zendaya’s Instagram Post
Instead of apologizing for not showing his appreciation of her, he finds every reason not to.
Mental Health in Relationships
What you say to people can either break them or make them. Remember earlier I told you this movie has a lot of rage? Being the emotional person I am when I watch a movie, I felt everything the characters do and I was scared for Marie, especially when she got into the bathtub. Why? Because she is a recovering drug addict who felt as if she would cave in and break at any moment.
About 20 minutes into the movie, Marie went to take a bath, but instead of giving her the peace of mind she deserves Malcolm storms into the bathroom telling her how much the movie was not about her and about the other women he was with before her, something I am sure a lot of women would prefer not to hear. What upsets me more is where he kept throwing her mental health problems, suicide attempts, and drug abuse in her face.
He then goes on to tell her how much he loves her with tears running down his cheeks and walks away right after (men confuse me sometimes). He did not check to see if his words could have led her to suicide considering she was in a bathtub, she was hurt and she has a history of hurting herself. This shows how little he cares for her. He does the exact opposite of his words. This teaches that love is not just merely words but it also takes into consideration actions.
This scene makes me wonder how much of this pain Marie has gone through since they have been together for a while; it makes me wonder how many “Maries” are out there going through the same thing.
Racism in Malcolm and Marie
I hate to say it, but…racism is a symbol in this creative piece. Throughout most of the movie, Malcolm rants about the movie reviews often written by a white, female, film critic who works for the LA Times. He expresses his hatred for her even after she wrote a positive review for his new film. In fact, a lot of film critics who are far more experienced in writing reviews have also made note of this. An important note I took from this is that black people can also be racist.
Firstly, racism is shown where aggressive language is used to belittle the “white lady” mentioned from the very start of the film to its climax. According to culture columnist at the LA Times, Mary McNamara, these are the type of languages female critics are very much familiar with.
Sexism and the trophy wife/girlfriend
I do not get to see this often but from watching Hollywood movies we all know what a trophy girlfriend looks like – tall, slim, straight hair, and half-white. From the very start of the film, we see where Marie wears a very revealing dress, and in her argument at the very end of the movie in her list of the things he could thank her for; wearing a sexy dress was one.
Despite being sober for some time, Marie has only been sober enough to contribute to Malcolm’s appearance. She has never had the chance to share the spotlight with him and on the night of his movie premiere, she realizes that.
“Because I was 20 years old and had never been loved the way you love me, or thought you loved me, I didn’t realize what I was to you,”Marie
Malcolm has never loved her, and he does not have the capacity to because he only sees her as a trophy and not one he can help to build. Instead of giving her a little of the credit he brags on the many women who were also addicts who contributed to the story of his film. He basically rubs the role she plays in his life in her face – she is no different from the other women he dated, he simply picks and throws away women as he pleases.
Besides the addiction, I believe Marie reminds a lot of women of themselves. They depend on men and lose their dignity during the process. It often reaches a point where it seems impossible to survive without a man. Like Marie who threw away her acting career, a lot of us threw away our passion and in the process ruin who we really are – we lose ourselves.
I watched this movie with only one intention, to be entertained, but I ended up learning a lot while watching it. Let me know what you got from the movie or if you would give it a try.