Black and White Film ‘Malcolm and Marie’: Reviews and Controversy

Zendaya and John David Washington carried an amazing performance in their new film Malcolm and Marie where they both play

Malcolm and Marie

Zendaya and John David Washington carried an amazing performance in their new film Malcolm and Marie where they both play mature roles as a couple. The film resides in one setting – Malcolm and Marie’s home in a beautiful, modern-styled house surrounded by nothing but nature. Many are wondering Why the black and white look for this film? The actress told ‘Good Morning America’: “Well, you know, other than the fact that it’s just pretty, it’s beautiful, it adds timelessness to it, but also … there was a thought also about reclaiming the narrative of black and white Hollywood and Black actors really having their moment at that time.”

During the black and white film era, many of the films included strictly white men and women while people of color were not given many chances to take part in any films. To reclaim that narrative, many people have taken the chance in today’s time to experience what they couldn’t before. Roma is another movie released in October of 2018 that gained huge attention and high ratings as one of the best black and white films. It has been about 3 days since Malcolm and Marie’s release and they have just taken Roma’s spot for #1 black and white film.

Not only has this film achieved much success, Zendaya is now nominated for best actress in Malcolm and Marie for the Critics Choice Awards of 2021. 

Age Gap Controversy

While millions have loved the film and its exposing of the negative realities of a relationship, many have contributed great criticism due to the 12-year age gap between actress Zendaya, 24, and actor John David Washington, 36. John plays the role of Malcolm, an establishing filmmaker while Zendaya plays Marie, Malcolm’s girlfriend and muse. Though it is not said how old Malcolm is in the film, we can assume he is meant to be around his mid-30s, as he is in real life. Zendaya’s age is assumed to be 25 based on the information shared throughout the film.

This is not the most shocking age gap in the film industry, Wolf of Wall Street, Never Have I Ever (Netflix TV Show), but has received much criticism and attention from people claiming Zendaya is just too young to be playing this role with a man much older than her. Zendaya also responded to these claims herself saying, “I’ve played a 16-year-old since I was 16. You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a child,” she told E! News. “It’s like watching, I guess, your younger sibling now, you know, they’re grown. … So it’s hard for people to wrap around the idea that I am grown in real life. You know, even though I do play a teenager on television still [in Euphoria].”

After viewing the film, we can see that the two characters successfully played the mature role as two people in a relationship as they communicate their problems thoroughly from the beginning to the end of the film. Some believe the age gap becoming a deal for this film is only caused because of the characters being black due to this never becoming an issue in any other movie that carried main characters with a massive age gap. Nevertheless, Zendaya and John executed an excellent job playing these roles and, additionally, helping in producing this film. 

Important Moments in Malcolm and Marie

Malcolm and Marie

Many have found this film to be quite a rollercoaster and emotionally exhausting as the couple argues and makes up on and off throughout the entire film. Zendaya’s character Marie craves respect, appreciation, and love from Malcolm which she noticed has become absent after years of being together. An important line Marie says in this film has achieved great praise as she argues with Malcolm while he sits and eats macaroni and cheese; “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. It’s not until you’re about to lose someone that you finally pay attention”.

Marie’s main concerns in this film were Malcolm’s lack of recognition and affection for her which they argue about continuously as it is never really resolved, even towards the end. Their last fight at the end of the film concludes with Marie telling Malcolm what she would want to hear from him, wishing he had thanked her in his speech for her love, support, and being an inspiration for his successful film. Malcolm then finally apologizes, thanks her, and they go to bed. When being in a relationship with someone for a long time, we often forget to show appreciation for our partners. Remember to let a loved one know they are loved today.

Some think “Well of course she knows I love her!” – but it doesn’t hurt to remind them with sweet words or special actions. Grab some flowers for your girlfriend or wife, or treat your significant other with their favorite dinner. Words and actions matter and make a difference.