Malcolm & Marie — Amalgamation of Writing and Acting

Barry's Bites
3 min readFeb 18, 2021

What Happens When a Genius Script and Genius Acting come together


I know I know who wants to watch a black and white movie that takes place in one house with only two characters. But this one was worth the leap of faith. I’ll say it now, Zendaya and John David Washington (“JDW”) are going to be two of the best actors of our lifetime. They flex their acting skills in this movie but it all starts with the script, written by Sam Levinson. Levinson lands the words and the actors nail the little things that make a dialogue true and real. They fight as real people fight. I mean they fight like real people in a relationship who want to cut deep. It’s an art film with a script that’s better than most $100 million-plus budget movies. Scripts are the bedrock that actors use to apply their skills and this one had a foundation that Zendaya and JDW exploited to their best ability. It doesn’t matter who you hire Brad Pitt, Denzel, or Dicaprio if they don’t have a solid script as their blueprint then you might as well not start. This is where the choice for this to be a black and white movie is key. Instead of focusing on the nuances of the location or the incredible CGI utilized to make the film interesting. This film pulls all of that out through black and white style in order to make the viewer focus on the words the actors are pouncing on to make a point.

Indie Wire

This amalgamation is no more clear than in the subliminal messages and rants that Zendaya and JDW plunge into during this film. Let’s look at the first scene as Zendaya and JDW walk into the house. Zendaya conveys more with her eyes and face than any words could ever vocalize. Aka she’s clearly pissed at something. Either JDW’s character messed up or something else pissed her off. Either way, her facial expressions are the set up for a deeper dive into our characters as well as the plot. As we dive deeper into the plot, the rants become legendary. Quite possibly one of my favorite rants of all time is when JDW is talking about the intentions of filmmakers from the past. Without giving too much away, it’s the little things that the script and actors execute perfectly that make this film a potential Oscar winner.

Furthermore, the messages behind these rants are awesome. It speaks to what movies and art should really be about. It’s not about sending some political or virtue signaling message. Movies should be a message about the human condition and human emotions. It’s not about where we’re from or what our history says about who we are. It’s about the common bond of emotion across societies and cultures that we can all understand. For instance, it doesn’t matter what language or country you’re from we all understand what it’s like to fight with your significant other or go through a breakup. This is the common bond that the movie establishes.

Before I rant you into boredom, if you’re looking for something that dives a little deeper then give this movie a chance. If you give it a genuine watch I promise you won’t be disappointed.