tv & movies

Malcolm and Marie review roundup: Zendaya and John David Washington’s performance impresses critics

Here's what the critics are saying about Malcolm and Marie.

The initial reviews of Zendaya and John David Washington starrer Malcolm and Marie are out. So far, the Sam Levinson directorial has received mostly positive critical reception with a 75 per cent rating at review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

Malcolm and Marie has the two lead actors playing a couple. Washington’s Malcolm is a filmmaker who has returned with his wife Marie from his movie’s premiere and the celebratory mood of the evening turns serious as they begin to share revelations about themselves and things get real.

Here’s what the critics are saying about the film.

Empire Magazine’s Amon Warmann said about the film, “Zendaya and John David Washington deliver career-best performances in this mesmerising two-hander that ruminates on love, life and art.”

Collider’s Matt Goldberg wrote in his review, “No disrespect to writer/director Sam Levinson, but Malcolm & Marie is a movie that lives or dies by its actors. John David Washington and Zendaya are the only two people in the movie, and the entire conflict is about the relationship between these two characters. For all of the long monologues and stark black-and-white cinematography, Malcolm & Marie belongs to Washington and Zendaya.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney wrote, “Washington holds his own throughout but it’s MVP Zendaya who carries the movie, revealing as much in Marie’s loaded silences as she does in her words.”

Variety’s Peter Debruge wrote, “Uncomfortable as it can be to watch a couple fight, there’s something incredibly moving about a filmmaker compelled to dedicate an entire movie to acknowledging he couldn’t do this alone. And all it took was two actors, a tiny crew and a global pandemic to bring that sentiment out into the open.”

Los Angeles Times’s Justin Chang was more critical. He wrote, “Words turn out to be the undoing of ‘Malcolm & Marie,’ not just because there are so many of them, but because they feel like the building blocks of a meta-movie parlor trick…”

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich gave the film a C+ and wrote in his review, “Washington is a force of nature in the role of an abusive narcissist whose charisma is undercut by his cruelty, but there’s only so much you can do with a character who’s constantly punching down at his statuesque girlfriend in order to feel tall, and/or motor-mouthing his way through a zillion different instances in which the Pinter-esque precision of Levinson’s writing chafes against his penchant for expanding every thought into a cringe-worthy millennial think-piece.”

Malcolm and Marie premieres on Netflix on February 5.

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