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Malcolm & Marie (2021)

At it’s heart, Malcolm & Marie (2021) is the depiction of conversations development, this simplistic character movie allows us to watch as two individuals converse, connect and collide whilst centred around one topic of conversation, their unstable relationship. Who could have thought that a film centred around only two characters in one single location could be so incredibly compelling and impactful. This film, although from the exterior seems simplistic is nothing of the sort, an ode to the Hollywood era which reclaims the beauty of black and white cinema whilst incorporating the beauty of black characters and their stories.


When you strip away the layers of stark lighting and the intricate plot with commentary to underlying mental health instability, racism and gender roles this film is not trying to be anything more than it’s deep, complex characters. These cynical character are played by some committed and incredibly believable actors, Zendaya and John David Washington. Both elevate the script and completely harness their talents to prevent this film from being monotonous or mundane, the actors physicalise the highs and lows of the relationship within a short space of time whilst still retaining a sense of reality and relatability. Both characters release their insecurities and vulnerability with the camera, sharing their pasts with each other only to be judged and forced to suppress them all over again. As a viewer I felt intrusive, as though I was watching intimate and private moments which didn’t belong to me but nonetheless, that is why I love cinema, watching these rare moments unfold of screen is special, especially when the characters are so complex.


This film, from my perspective, is a direct commentary on lockdown filmmaking, it is a beautiful depiction of isolation, loneliness and imperfection. No matter the storyline, no matter the context this film, to me, is a film about our current climate. We all know the pressures and torment of being trapped in one location, often feeling alone or under-appreciated, forgotten or simply depressed. Malcolm & Marie (2021) is a beautifully told journey of two basic, normal characters, we embark on their treacherous night together as they fight and forgive over and over, the action is somewhat repetitive but in the most creative way possible. The tone of the film is repetitive, the fighting and the forgiving plays almost four times over but this only cements the overarching themes of loneliness and isolation. Their actions take them round in circles, somewhat like our lives now and I found this interpretation of society today to be somewhat beautiful. The circular motion of this movie leaves the ending incredibly vivid, we know that Malcolm and Marie will live out that one night forever, cursed to hate each other but also cursed to love each other.


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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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