Malcolm and Marie redefines love and hate

Malcolm and Marie is now available to stream on Netflix.

Photo from Wikipedia, property of Little Lamb Production Company

Malcolm and Marie is now available to stream on Netflix.

Angelica Cervantes, Staff Writer

Sam Levinson’s Malcolm and Marie produces a whirlwind of emotions surrounding the struggles of a complex relationship. 

Featuring Zendaya and John David Washington as the leads, the film showcases the range and artistry of its actors. 

The tone of this film differs drastically from Levinson’s Euphoria on HBO. He has shifted his energy from a spunky, teenage drama series that also features Zendaya, into this formal and pragmatic piece of work. This film will leave you wondering about the workings of love and how every aspect of a romantic relationship builds on another to create a vivid romance or a toxic situation.

Washington plays the role of Malcolm, an up-and-coming director, who just arrived home from his new film’s screening. His partner Marie, played by Zendaya, accompanies him as they settle down after an eventful night. Though the film has us assume the characters will settle down and relax for the night, the film delivers the opposite from our expectations. 

It begins quite lighthearted with a jazzy soundtrack and warm mood, but quickly turns into a distressing plane for arguing lovers. 

This film remains authentic in the way it deconstructs the functions of a relationship. In a scene, Malcolm and Marie begin bickering over mere trifles, but this slowly snowballs into a night of emotional terror and evocative conversations. Their polarizing performances force the audience to choose a side as they both contribute their flaws and valid cases.

To add to the film’s artistic value, it is set in black and white, allowing the audience to completely focus on the characters and their intense dialogue. 

Every shot and frame is visually enticing and influences us to stay in awe, despite the fact that there is a single setting and only two characters. The various close-up shots of both Marie’s and Malcolm’s faces express their range of emotions and solidify the damage they have inflicted on each other. 

This film also features a diverse soundtrack of uplifting music, chaotic jazz and instrumental melodies that set the mood of each scene.

Through the screenplay, Sam Levinson also introduces themes of race, film culture, artistic expression and even drug abuse. Though these themes are not as highlighted as the theme of love between Malcolm and Marie, they serve as realistic and honest points of dialogue strewn within ongoing arguments. 

Because Malcolm and Marie are both Black, they give a unique perspective on how actors and directors of color are treated in terms of their work. Levinson paints a vivid message through the characters and their social experiences.

This film is not your traditional love story, but an honest narrative that real couples may find relatable or introspective. 

Though there are moments of genuine love and admiration between the characters, do not count on this film to console you in the same way a romantic drama or comedy does. It is raw, emotionally brutal, yet insightful with daily struggles that romantic partners experience. 

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California