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Starring: Zendaya, John David Washington
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix drama, written and directed by Sam Levinson. Malcolm & Marie (2021) centers on filmmaker, Malcolm (John David Washington), and his girlfriend, Marie (Zendaya), who return home following a celebratory movie premiere. As Malcolm awaits what’s sure to be imminent critical and financial success, the evening suddenly takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the strength of their love.
Our Favorite Quote:'I feel like once you know someone's there for you, and once you know they love you, you never actually think of them again. It's not until you're about to lose someone, that you finally pay attention.' - Marie (Malcolm & Marie) Click To Tweet
Malcolm: I wrote, and directed, and premiered a movie that knocked the audience the f*** out tonight! Did you see that? Did you see that audience? Baby, did you see that audience?
Malcolm: I may just want to make a LEGO movie.
Marie: You don’t want to make a LEGO movie.
Malcolm: Yeah, that’s true. But that LEGO movie was fire. That s**t was heat! Right?
Marie: And you’re complaining about reviews that haven’t yet been written.
Malcolm: Right again.
Marie: So stop. Makes you sound like an a**hole.
Malcolm: Yeah. But s**t, you know what I’m saying though.
Marie: Yeah, but save it for another day.
Malcolm: I love you, Marie.
Marie: Do you want salted or unsalted butter?
Malcolm: I’ll just have you.
Malcolm: Please, Marie. I really don’t want to fight tonight.
Marie: Neither do I. That is why I’m making you mac and cheese.
Malcolm: She sees how you are with other people. You know, you’re talkative. You’re funny.
Marie: What can I say? I’m personable.
Malcolm: Right. Which is what makes her insecure.
Marie: What does? Other f***ing human beings with personalities?
Malcolm: No. The fact that you’re not yourself and she sees it.
Marie: She’ll survive.
Malcolm: Marie, you’re angry. Marie, what you angry about? Marie. Marie? Marie! Marie.
Malcolm: I can’t go to bed knowing you’re angry.
Marie: Malcolm, I promise you, nothing productive is going to be said tonight.
Malcolm: How do you know?
Marie: Because I know you.
Malcolm: What does that mean?
Marie: And I love you.
Malcolm: Why is it that anytime anything good happens in our lives, you have to find something, anything, the most minor f***ing detail to harp on, to make ugly, to ensure that there’s no reason to f***ing celebrate.
Marie: Really? You want to go there?
Marie: You forgot to thank me, Malcolm. It’s not a minor f***ing detail. That’s a big one.
Malcolm: But I’ve thanked you a million times before. You know that I’m thankful. You know I’m appreciative. And you know I made a mistake, so why turn it into something more?
Marie: Because it is more.
Marie: It’s our entire f***ing relationship in a nutshell.
Malcolm: You’re psychotic.
Marie: You’re hyperbolic.
Malcolm: I’m not. It’s psychotic to think that forgetting to thank you is symbolic of anything other than me legitimately forgetting to f***ing thank you.
Malcolm: I’m sorry. I forgot to thank you. I am genuinely sorry, which is why I apologized to you a thousand f***ing times during the movie. I mean, I felt so guilty, I couldn’t concentrate on the movie.
Marie: Huh. That’s a shame. You’ve only seen it seven thousand times.
Marie: It’s not just about you forgetting to thank me, Malcolm. It’s about how you see me. And how you view my contribution, not just to this relationship, but to your work. Specifically in a movie you made about my life.
Malcolm: You know, Marie, you are genuinely unstable. I’m not kidding! I’m actually concerned for your mental well-being!
Marie: Are you actually yelling and belittling me from across this house because you are too busy eating mac and cheese?
Marie: Do you know how disturbing it is that you can compartmentalize to such a degree that you can abuse me while eating mac and cheese?
Malcolm: Abuse you?
Marie: Mac and cheese I f***ing made you!
Malcolm: Abuse you?
Marie: Verbally abuse me.
Malcolm: Well, thanks for the f***ing clarification. It’s kind of an important one.
Marie: What I’m saying is you spend your entire life catering to the feelings and the whims of literally everyone but me. Agents, producers, crew members, actors, f***ing fictional characters get more respect and empathy from you than I do.
Marie: You know what, Malcolm? I feel like once you know someone is there for you, and once you know they love you, you never actually think of them again.
Malcolm: That’s not true.
Marie: It’s not until you’re about to lose someone, that you finally pay attention.
Malcolm: Is what you’re threatening, if I don’t apologize, I’m going to lose you?
Marie: I’m not looking for an apology.
Malcolm: What do you want? A screenplay credit?
Marie: Don’t be cruel.
Malcolm: Well, what is it, Marie? What do you want?
Marie: The film is beautiful. I’m proud of you. It took forever to make, and it was f***ing tough. But I have one question for you. Do you think that the movie would be as good as it is if we weren’t together?
Marie: And that’s all I wish you would have said.
Malcolm: Are we no longer fighting?
Marie: That depends.
Malcolm: On what?
Marie: On whether you can manage to not say something hurtful for the rest of the night.
Malcolm: I mean, I’m not that bad.
Marie: F*** you aren’t.
Marie: Just don’t take me for granted.
Malcolm: I don’t.
Marie: You did.
Malcolm: I’m sorry.
Marie: You can kiss me now.
Marie: I’m the only person who tells you you’re being an a**hole when you’re being an a**hole.
Malcolm: I know.
Marie: And now that you’ve made a movie that everybody loves, the world’s going to be kissing your a**.
Marie: I heard that s**t all night. “Oh, he’s so sensitive. He’s so in tune to emotion. He’s romantic. I bet he’s sweet, right?”
Malcolm: What did you say?
Marie: I said, “Well, I mean, yeah. When he’s not being an emotional f***ing terrorist.”
Marie: You know, life is going to get easier, but it’s also going to get harder.
Malcolm: What do you mean?
Marie: Just don’t believe the hype, Malcolm. And don’t push away the people who ground you.
Marie: You’re going to start making fake movies about fake people with fake emotions.
Marie: Next thing you know, you will be on your press tour for your new LEGO film. Talk about how it’s an allegory for the failures of reconstruction. “Well, I mean, the original working title was, Forty LEGOs And A Mule. But the studio got a little…”
Malcolm: You should’ve never given up acting, baby.
Marie: Why, Malcolm?
Malcolm: I always believed if you found a character that actually allowed you to be yourself, you’d be astonishing.
Marie: Well, Malcolm, unfortunately no one can really write me except you.
Malcolm: Where the f*** did you go?
Marie: To pee.
Malcolm: To pee. Where?
Malcolm: Well, thy didn’t you just use the bathroom?
Marie: Because I didn’t grow up with a backyard, and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet.
Marie: You know, you are the neediest man I’ve ever dated. But at the same time, you are also the least jealous man I’ve ever dated. I mean, I could literally be hanging on some random guy’s arm and you would never think it’s sexual. You’d just come up to me and be like, “Hey, babe. What the hell are you doing? I need your help. I can’t remember anybody’s name here. Let’s go.”
Malcolm: Some people would say lack of jealousy is a good thing.
Marie: Not when it borders on indifference.
Malcolm: Now what are you talking about, Marie?
Marie: Malcolm, you can encourage me to have a life of my own, but that’s just, that’s bulls**t. You don’t actually want me to have a life that is separate from yours, because you are too f***ing needy.
Marie: And don’t f***ing patronize me, and tell me I gave up something, when you know damn well your work is all that you have time for, and all you f***ing care about.
Malcolm: Oh, so you gave up a f***ing career in acting to be an emotional f***ing support dog.
Malcolm: You never wanted it. Because you’re scared to try and fail.
Marie: You know what? You are f***ing ugly inside.
Malcolm: Of course I want you to have a life, Marie. You know why? Because I’m terrified that if you don’t, you’re going to hang everything on mine.
Malcolm: You know, I get it. I really do. You have pain, and f***ing disappointment, and dreams, like everybody else on planet Earth. You’re mad that you didn’t get the jobs you wish you’d got. You’re embarrassed that you had to play “Skinny Girl In Alley” and “Concerned Nurse Number Two”. Well, guess what? None of us are proud of where we first start off!
Malcolm: But you keep working! You keep on trying! You work harder, and harder. Because even if you’re not talented, which you are, you can still get somewhere, as long as you don’t have a f***ing ego. You don’t have to be proud of everything you do! But you do have to work harder than ninety-nine percent of people!
Marie: I was good f***ing material. Hm? That’s why you stuck by me. Because I was a story. It was a world of emotions you weren’t used to seeing so f***ing close. And because I was twenty years-old, and I’d never been loved the way you loved me, or thought you loved me, I didn’t realize what I was to you. A f***ing movie. A tragedy. One that you could continue watching for as long as you were there for me.
Marie: You’re a f***ing fraud. And the reason you didn’t thank me tonight is because you already know that. You have nothing new to say! All you can do is f***ing mimic. Be a f***ing parakeet, a goddamn cockatoo. I mean, God forbid you are ever alone, and have to dream up another original idea. What are you going to write, Malcolm? Huh? Yourself? Give me a f***ing break. You don’t have the balls. You don’t have the gravitas, the f***ing introspection to look at yourself, and your flaws, and your shortcomings.
Marie: What the f*** do you know about shame and guilt? You have two parents, no bad habits, other than being a f***ing p**ck, and a college education.
Marie: You’re more privileged than the white girl who works for the LA Times, who thinks she’s doing a public service by lifting up your mediocre a**.
Malcolm: Now you’re being cruel.
Malcolm: What do you mean, “mediocre”? Were you just trying to be mean? Is that why you said it?
Marie: Out of everything I said, “mediocre” is what stuck with you?
Malcolm: I just want to know if you actually believe it.
Malcolm: This is the biggest night of my life, Marie, and you’re trying to turn it into the worst, and I’m being irrational.
Marie: Look at you.
Malcolm: You’re so solipsistic that you see yourself in everything. Even in things you had nothing to do with.
Malcolm: You want to hurt me, Marie. I promise you, I can hurt you ten times worse. You’re a f***ing featherweight, a level-one boss. I can snap you like a twig.
Malcolm: You know how disturbed you are, Marie? You may have gotten clean, but you still haven’t figured this part out yet. Why you love being hurt, traumatized and f***ing eviscerated? It’s not normal. It’s not healthy, and it permeates every aspect of our relationship.
Malcolm: I’ve dated some damaged people in my life, Marie. But none of them wanted to be debased and degraded like you. And honestly, Marie, it’s nothing to be proud of. So stop f***ing smiling, because you look like a clown. Now there’s some material for you.
Malcolm: You know what I just realized, Marie? It’s not about justifying your existence. It’s not. It’s about you being so scared and so selfish that you have to break me down. Second guess everything I do.
Malcolm: You want control, because you can’t imagine the reason I’m with you is because I love you. I just love you, baby. I don’t need you. But I love you. That there’s somebody on this planet that just loves you. I love the way your mind works, Marie. I do. I love the way you see the world. I love the way you think. Your instincts. And I’m so f***ing grateful, because everything that you’ve been through, everything, that’s what made you you. That’s what made you you. The girl that I love.
Malcolm: You want to know the part of Imani that’s based on you? It’s the end. The part that makes it such a tragedy. The part that she, where she loathes herself so much because of all the guilt, and the shame. That she can’t let the good in. That’s the part that’s based on you. Her inability to fathom that there’s someone on this planet Earth that just loves her. Despite her not loving herself. That’s you. That’s the part that isn’t fiction.
Malcolm: Cinema doesn’t need to have a f***ing message. It needs to have a heart and electricity.
Marie: So this is what happens when you get a good review? You’re f***ing crazy. You’re delirious.
Marie: Honestly, Malcolm, you are a true insane person.
Malcolm: I know. I know. I just, I’m tired of fighting, Marie.
Marie: Yeah, well, that was a fight you had entirely with yourself.
Marie: Do you think you’re the first writer in the history of writing to have this issue with critics?
Malcolm: Of course not.
Marie: Of course not, because it’s all the same bulls**t. So, what, Malcolm? You want to make movies, and no one’s allowed to say anything bad about them? Give me a break.
Marie: I mean, honestly, nobody cares what you have to say. They don’t. You guys play f***ing dress-up for a living.
Marie: Malcolm, you got a great review with an asterisk. Boo-f***ing-hoo.
Malcolm: I’m a ho, huh?
Marie: Mm-hmm. Most definitely.
Malcolm: I love you.
Marie: Don’t manipulate me.
Marie: Why didn’t you cast me? When you first wrote it, you wrote it for me. So why didn’t you cast me?
Malcolm: So that’s what this whole thing has been about tonight?
Marie: You’re so good at fighting. You fought to make the movie, to make it the way you wanted to make it. So why didn’t you fight for me? Because I would have been good. I would have. Maybe even better.
Malcolm: So there it is.
Malcolm: The f***ing truth. Leave it to you to spend the entire night burning it all to the f***ing ground, only to reveal, that in the end, you’re just jealous.
Marie: It’s not jealousy.
Malcolm: Oh, come on. Give me a break, Marie.
Marie: It’s the fact that I can’t tell my story anymore. I can’t articulate all the f***ing chaos that’s going on in here because you already did.
Marie: I know it happened to both of us. But the difference is you were able to take all the ugly s**t and make it something beautiful. Something good. Something that could move people. But, Malcolm, I’m stuck with it.
Marie: I didn’t try because you didn’t want me.
Malcolm: Now you want to play the victim. Now you want to say you felt like I didn’t want you so you didn’t try. You are f***ing intolerable.
Marie: It’s about ownership. It’s about the illusion you want to create that filmmaking isn’t a collaborative effort. It’s you, and everybody else is just following f***ing directions. Because if it were me, if it were authentic because of me, you couldn’t swing your f***ing d**k around! That’s why you didn’t thank me tonight, Malcolm. And that’s also why you didn’t cast me.
Malcolm: Recreating reality doesn’t make something interesting. It’s about your interpretation about reality. What you feel about reality.
Marie: You’re full of s**t.
Malcolm: What you reveal about reality. Perspective, your perspective. You know, transcribing a conversation, or holding a camera up and pressing record, that’s a f***ing YouTube video. That’s a confession, or a memoir.
Marie: I hate you!
Malcolm: Well, I hate you hate too!
Marie: I hate you more!
Malcolm: I hate you the most!
Marie: I’m not doing well. I’m really, really not doing well. I’ve never been clean. And I don’t plan on getting clean. I’m a piece of s**t. I’m a liar. I cheated on you. I f***ed your friends. I f***ed your friends. God, I feel like I’m crazy. I’ve stolen from your mother. And you know what the f***ed up thing is? I don’t even care. I don’t mind. Because I deserve it.
Marie: [as she reveals she was acting] And that, Malcolm, is what authenticity buys you.
Malcolm: Well, damn! Why didn’t you do that in the audition?
Malcolm: You are, by far, the most excruciating, difficult, stubbornly obnoxious woman I’ve ever met in my entire life. I go from wanting, to cut your head off in one moment, to f***ing wanting to kiss your beautiful, stupid little face the next. I f***ing love you. I love you. Should we get married?
Marie: I’m not in the mood.
Malcolm: Seriously. I feel like we’re going to get married and divorced at least a couple times, so we might as well start now.
Malcolm: You going to be this exhausting at seventy, or will you have exhausted yourself?
Marie: That depends where you are.
Malcolm: Living with the white girl from the LA Times, because at least I can win an argument against her.
Marie: The more I think about it, her problem is my problem.
Malcolm: Which is what?
Marie: That I’m with you. I haven’t walked out. I’m not wondering what other movies are playing. You know, I got you. I’m on your side. And then you just, you got to f***ing take s**t too far.
Marie: I really enjoyed having sex with you. I mean, up until about fifteen minutes ago, it was an aspect of our relationship that I genuinely had no complaints about. It was also my only remaining vice, that and cigarettes. But, well, lo and behold, you had to take s**t too far.
Marie: I don’t need to know the details. I don’t need to know all the the moves, and the steps, and the places that brought you to my doorstep. You’re here. I loved you unconditionally. Why? Because I value mystery. The unknown. It’s what supports the tension of a relationship and forces us to be the best version of ourselves. The “what if” factor. What if there’s someone who loved him better?
Marie: But what it also makes me realize, the reason you don’t get jealous is because you don’t value that mystery, do you? The reason you don’t value it, the reason why you never wonder if you’re the best f*** I’ve ever had, or the most talented person I’ve ever been with, or the kindest, or the smartest, it’s because it is inconceivable to you that there is anybody on this planet that is more interesting than you are. Your lack of curiosity is merely an extension of your narcissism, your megalomania, your egotistical view of the world. And as a result of never doubting yourself, you never stopped to ask yourself, “How can I be a better partner?”
Marie: You’re good. You are set. The man I’m looking at right now is as good as he’s going to get. You yelling at me in a bathtub about how you’re going to snap me like a twig is the best and worst of who you will be in this relationship. And that’s why you can forget to thank me in your speech. Because you’re not afraid that I’m going to come home and go, “You know what? You lost me tonight. F*** this s**t. I am out.” But if you steamroll every single person in your midst, day in and day out, you are going to end up living in a fictional f***ing reality.
Marie: Look at me. I’m the last person standing. I’m the last person to look at you and go, “You know what? Up your f***ing game. If not for me, then for your work.” Malcolm, if this is a movie, you hold on to me for dear f***ing life. Because that’s who we’ve been for one another. That’s who you’ve been for me and I’ve been for you, from the day we met.
Marie: All I wanted tonight was a “thank you”, Malcolm. That is it. That’s all. “Thank you, Marie. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for making my life better.”
Malcolm: I’m sorry. Thank you.
Marie: You’re welcome.
'I value mystery. The unknown. It's what supports the tension of a relationship and forces us to be the best version of ourselves. The “what if” factor.' - Marie (Malcolm & Marie) Click To Tweet