Reminder: this is a two-part review.
I watched Malcolm & Marie the first night it was available on NETFLIX. I was excited about it because I am a fan of movies. I am also a fan of Black character lead love stories. As a writer, as a woman, as a Black woman writer, I need to see this! As a writer, here are 6 things I take away from this movie.
1.) Cinematography. The movie is done in black and white, which forces you to pay attention to the characters and what they really have to say.
2.) Character positions/Body language. I like how the characters say things, without ever saying them. This is good writing here! I was sucked in the moment that Marie walked in with her back Marine Corps straight, and when she cut the cold butter in one stroke.
3.) Music is a character. I am known for writing to music, and even inserting a song every now and then to introduce a new layer into the story or to express what the character is feeling. The same thing happens here in this movie. Very smart thing to do.
4.) Setting. I like that the house Malcolm and Marie are renting is literally a glass house. There are so many windows! The fact that they are alone in this house, which is full of windows, the house itself is the embodiment of two adages:
“People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
“You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”
5.) Dialogue. Oh, the dialogue! The writers of this movie pulled no punches. There are certain fights that Malcolm an Marie have I cringed at. I had to walk away because I had similar fights with people who said they loved me too. The fact that the dialogue is a that realistic? It’s triggering.
Dialogue is a weapon. Dialogue is a key. Dialogue is a means of control.
6.) Character development. As the movie continues, I find myself irritated Marie. I find myself irritated at Malcolm. Then, I was irritated at both of them! I was irritated because I could see each other’s point. The more they spoke to each other, even when the arguments ebbed and flowed, we see more and more of where the root of this argument was. The dialogue helps us to see exact where the pain for both of them is. It is awesome to see this and it forces you to engage in the story–even when it’s messy.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
[image from indiewire.com]