Marriage Story, but it’s a Calvin Klein add
A “Malcolm & Marie” Review
This is one of those love stories that makes sense on a rainy day and no sense some others. Basically, we have a beautiful couple arguing about their importance in life.
Malcolm is an self-centered mid-thirties filmmaker painted by the anger speech of his partner, Marie, who’s a sober-clean mid-twenties girl trying to get her shit together, as painted by the anger swing of her partner’s long monologues. The movie spends most of its running time on those anger monologues, discussing film criticism and authenticity (you know if you’ve watched it).
Balanced by an outstanding soundtrack of jazzy-bluesy diegetic songs that mostly play a part on their own, trying to help us articulate who those two really are, and the glamorous black-and-white Kodak film cinematography, Sam Levinson’s writing goes over the top, placing the characters into a constant boiling point.
But we don’t get to know them. We don’t really get to care unless we can see ourselves in the same situation of a relationship falling apart (I personally watched the film on a rainy day after a huge fight with my boyfriend). To be fair we get to know kinda lot about the character of the movie Malcolm has just successfully debuted. In the long night that follows, the absence of a “Thank you” during his speech, takes the title characters into a sometimes claustrophobic, sometimes liberating roller coaster.
She says a ten page monologue about how he sees her in the relationship and moves to another room in the awesome house they’re in, just so he can come marching in with a replica monologue of how she sees him in the relationship, and it goes on for a while. They kiss, they foreplay, they go back fighting. At some moments, we can see a spark of real emotion, real tension, real love, something that holds them together, but mostly, we get no answers to why they are together or wether should we care or not.
But if the script doesn’t really carry the movie, the acting does. Going beyond common Hollywood acting, the movie hits hard on theatricality and dramatic acting. John David Washington does great and believable, while Zendaya is the star of the whole show. We get to see her mature in ways that Euphoria didn’t. There’s even some connection between both characters, but only if you’re willing to go full “Pixar theory” on Levinson’s two personas for her muse. She’s doing good in her Oscar odds for a nomination and that would be worth. By the way, the movie deserves her nom, as much as the cinematographer and production design teams as well. Winning is stretching it too far, but who knows.
I read someone say that this film is Marriage Story as a Calvin Klein add, and even if it’s not fair, the joke makes sense. Too bad Levinson took his chance of selling the story of love to sell the godly idea of Hollywood for dummies aka we matter. The movie is beautiful though. I’m definitelly gonna watch it again.