'Malcolm & Marie' first reactions: "Zendaya could steal the Best Actress Oscar"
The first reactions to Zendaya and John David Washington’s new Netflix film Malcolm & Marie are in.
The black-and-white film, written and directed by Euphoria showrunner Sam Levinson, will be released worldwide on the streaming platform on February 5.
Ahead of the release, a special screening was held on Friday (January 8), with critics now sharing their first impressions of the film.
“Zendaya runs away with Sam Levinson’s black-and-white Cassavetes-inspired two hander Malcolm & Marie,” IndieWire’s Anne Thompson wrote on Twitter. “She could steal the Best Actress Oscar from another Netflix contender, Viola Davis, for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It’s a two way race now. Wow.”
Zendaya runs away with Sam Levinson’s black-and-white Cassavetes-inspired two hander Malcolm & Marie. She could steal the Best Actress Oscar from another @netflix contender, Viola Davis, for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It’s a two way race now. Wow.
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) January 9, 2021
John David Washington and Zendaya are fire in MALCOLM & MARIE,” Clayton Davis added. “The two bring devotion and energy to their roles, both of which can find room in the #Oscars race.”
John David Washington and Zendaya are fire in MALCOLM & MARIE. The two bring devotion and energy to their roles, both of which can find room in the #Oscars race.
Beautiful camera work.
Dialogue leaves much to be desired but many will dig it.#MalcolmAndMarie pic.twitter.com/EvcfGUaFtY
— Clayton Davis (@AwardsCircuit) January 9, 2021
See more first reactions to Malcolm & Marie below.
Zendaya & John David Washington deliver powerhouse performances in #MalcolmAndMarie, a monologue-heavy romantic drama that’s ultimately about being a better partner & wow do they put it all out on the table. It’s angry, soulful & sweet & the music cues are the absolute best pic.twitter.com/e9tqBJARZJ
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) January 9, 2021
#MalcolmAndMarie is the award-worthy game changer we’ve been waiting for. Sam Levinson’s brilliantly topical screenplay and atmospheric direction signal the arrival of a new master. JDW is superb, but Zendaya delivers THE performance of the year that deserves to sweep all awards! pic.twitter.com/OYs2w2a3Ii
— Diego Andaluz 🎥 (@thediegoandaluz) January 8, 2021
The plot synopsis for Malcolm & Marie reads: “When filmmaker Malcolm (John David Washington) and his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya), return home from a movie premiere and await his film’s critical response, the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationship surface, testing the couple’s love.”
Watch the trailer for Malcolm & Marie below.
At a Q&A following the screening, Levinson said of the project: “I needed a catalyst for it: What’s a really terrible thing a person can do to their partner? Here’s the truth: I forgot to thank [Ashley Levinson, his wife] at the premiere of Assassination Nation, which was a brutal film to edit, and she was upset. I felt very guilty about it.
“Supposedly, we only talked about it on the car ride home. In my head, I imagined we’d had 1,000 conversations about it. I took that as the catalyst for this piece.”
Zendaya added: “As soon as [Levinson] talked about shooting it in black and white, trying to create a skeleton crew, it sounded incredible while sounding equally terrifying, because I’ve never had the opportunity to be involved with something from its inception.”