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'Malcolm & Marie' first reactions: "Zendaya could steal the Best Actress Oscar"

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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.”

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.”

See more first reactions to Malcolm & Marie below.

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.”

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