Steven’s review published on Letterboxd:
John David Washington 🤔.
The film is fine. As a performer, the film feeling like a theatre performance actually kept me really invested, with it basically being one enormous conversation.
John David Washington (by some miracle) was the superior performer, with Zendaya often feeling inauthentic. Despite this, Washington once again falls short of a performance close to anything remarkable.
Most importantly with regards to performances, every choice Zendaya makes in this film is very obvious and very boring. Even though John David Washington doesn’t always hit the mark, his choices are at least interesting and provide an enjoyable performance that is still grounded in reality.
During the ‘big’ arguments, much of it felt as if director Sam Levinson said “okay guys we are doing an argument scene, so just start yelling. Like, don’t stop yelling, even if it feels unnatural.” It got old really quick.
Malcolm and Marie at times feels like a college acting class, with drawn out monologues that feel like they were written for the sole purpose of having a big ‘acting’ scene. The conflict between the two characters just barely gets it over the finish line.