“Malcolm & Marie” Review

Photo credit: Netflix

This is less of a movie and more of a compilation of monologues that — while certainly flashy — don’t coalesce into anything worthwhile. It all starts off on the right foot, though, flexing John David Washington’s and Zendaya’s acting chops, all while managing to make arguments about film criticism in a kitchen feel cinematic through some great blocking and camera movement. Unfortunately, the movie says everything it has to say before it’s even halfway through, resulting in a bunch of repetitive monologues with such increasing intensity that by the time I reached the final 30 minutes, I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to be laughing with or at Malcolm’s meltdowns.

If the two leads weren’t so good, the second half of the movie would be borderline insufferable, but instead it’s just an exhausting sequence of temper tantrums that make you realize these two characters aren’t that relatable and the movie doesn’t have as much on its as mind as it thinks it does. This is particularly shown in the constant references to “the white lady at the LA Times,” which is a bit that starts off as insightful before quickly becoming repetitive, and then finally becoming really, really uncomfortable. I guess this is the movie we deserve after a bunch of people saw Marriage Story — a two-and-a-half-hour divorce movie that features one scene of people yelling — and thought it was an overdramatic portrayal of a couple falling apart; if only we knew the Netflix original movie that was to come.

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