Sam Levinson’s ‘Malcolm & Marie’ revolves around its titular couple who’s fiercely accomplished in the eyes of the public. But behind the four walls of Malcolm’s (John David Washington) fancy house, he is an insecure man who strives for constant validation, even from his beau Marie (Zendaya), who is brutally honest and an active critic of everything Malcolm has conceived as a filmmaker.
After returning from the premiere of his latest movie, they shut their doors to the outside world, which provides an intimate peek into their strained relationship. An initially superficial argument about Malcolm forgetting to thank Marie in his speech turns into something deeper and darker during the course of one night. Their problems can be attributed to their individual shortcomings that somehow has affected their relationship. If you can’t get enough of this movie, here is a list of other films that are based on similar themes. You can watch most of these movies like ‘Malcolm & Marie’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Sylvie’s Love (2020)
‘Sylvie’s Love‘ is a period drama that revolves around Sylvie (Tessa Thompson), tucked inside her father’s record store, waiting for her fiancé, who is serving in the Korean War. One day, while looking for the latest Thelonious Monk record, she meets handsome saxophonist Bobby (Nnamdi Asomugha), who immediately develops a crush on her. The pair then begin to flirt over their favorite records while dealing with a life that prevents them from living together happily ever after. The movie focuses on the arc of their relationship in a not very different manner from ‘Malcolm & Marie,’ which showcases its characters’ declining love for each other through an intense discourse.
6. The Photograph (2020)
‘The Photograph‘ is about Michael Block (Lakeith Stanfield), a dissatisfied journalist from New York who finds love during one of this work endeavors. He travels to Louisiana to capture the story of a crab fisherman named Isaac, who was separated from the love of his life Christina, a successful photographer. He catches a glimpse of the woman in a photograph at Isaac’s place and decides to look her up.
The story kicks off when he encounters Christina’s estranged daughter, Mae (Issa Rae). They instantly like each other but being together for the couple is not simple as multiple obstacles litter their path to happiness. Relationship problems that are initiated by a torrid dynamic are what the protagonists in ‘Malcolm & Marie’ also go through. Both couples also grapple with the eternal “love versus career” question.
5. Queen & Slim (2019)
On the surface, ‘Queen & Slim‘ looks more like a dramatic thriller, but the story is undoubtedly held together by the chemistry between its main characters, the titular Queen (Daniel Kaluuya) and Slim (Jodie Turner-Smith). They encounter each other during an awkward first date, which turns into a murder after they shoot a police officer in self-defense. The duo is then on the run, and throughout their journey of eluding the police, they reflect upon the political consequences of being black. In ‘Malcolm & Marie,’ the characters have a dispute over his movie, which is loosely based on Marie’s experiences as a black woman. This “romance meets socio-political awareness” theme is also ever-present in ‘Queen & Slim.’
4. In the Mood for Love (2000)
Considered no less than a modern-day art piece by Wong Kar-wai, the story depicts its protagonists, Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) and Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung), brought together by loneliness. Both of them are ignored by their respective partners so, to ease up the pain in their hearts, they take solace in each other’s company. Over time, they forge a bond that is solely based on intimate conversations and deep understanding. The emotional nuances between the couple are reflected through stunning visuals and a powerful narrative. The substance in ‘Malcolm & Marie’ is similarly portrayed through impactful dialogue delivery.
3. Lost in Translation (2003)
‘Lost in Translation‘ is set in Japan’s towering landscape, where two strangers (Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray) are pulled in together by fate. As active observers of their own lives and the shortcomings that exhaust them out, they confide in each other and become close in time. A sense of completeness engulfs these characters, whose bond itself is so strong that they never feel the need to realize it through physical intimacy. The several heart-to-heart interactions between its protagonists remind us of ‘Malcolm & Marie,’ although the latter mainly deals with relationship problems.
2. Before Midnight (2013)
Richard Linklater‘s ‘Before Midnight’ continues the story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who are now 41 years old. The duo had chanced upon each other long back when they were floating in the languidness of youth, with so many dreams left to fulfill. The movie continues years after they were last seen in Julie’s Paris apartment. They now have insightful discussions on parenting, and for a change, they’re also seen talking to other younger and older couples, offering different views on love, marriage, and romance. The unmistakable similarity between this movie and ‘Malcolm & Marie’ happens to be intensely engaging conversations that immerse the characters in deep introspection.
1. Certified Copy (2010)
‘Certified Copy’ revolves around a woman (Juliette Binoche), who invites a celebrated author James Miller (William Shimell), to meet with her for a while. The two then spend the day in a remote Tuscan village sharing their thoughts and emotions that lie unbridled in their hearts. The conversation between them slowly escalates into a character study based on their past experiences, but they soon come to terms with the heaviness of their past. ‘Malcolm & Marie’ is a conversation between two people who are continually hurt by each other. Both these movies depict honest narratives that dive into interpersonal relationships.
Read More: Is Malcolm & Marie a True Story?