Rated: R
Release Date: 02/05/2021
Production Company: Netflix

John David Washington and Zendaya.

Director: Sam Levinson. Producers: Sam Levinson, Ashley Levinson, John David Washington, Zendaya and Kevin Turen. Executive Producers: Kid Cudi, Aaron L. Gilbert, Will Greenfield, Harrison Kreiss, Stuart Manashil, Yariv Milchan, Michael Shaefer, Katia Washington and Kenneth Yu. Screenwriter: Sam Levinson. Cinematographer: Marcell Rev.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

I couldn’t help but think of the Stylistics’ classic, hit song, “Break Up to Make Up” while watching the new, romantic drama, “Malcolm & Marie” starring John David Washington (“Tenet”) and Zendaya (“Spiderman: Far from Home” and TV’s “Euphoria”).

While that song isn’t in the film there are other gems like James Brown’s “Down and Out in New York City,” William Bell’s “I Forgot to Be Your Lover” and Dionne Warwick’s “Get Rid of Him.” However, the Stylistics’ cut best describes the tumultuous relationship that Washington and Zendaya have in the movie.

Washington and Zendaya who co-produced “Malcolm & Marie” with director/screenwriter Sam Levinson (TV’s “Euphoria”), discussed their unique movie during a recent Virtual interview “attended” by and select press.The event was moderated by singer/actress Janelle Monae.


In “Malcolm and Marie,” Washington plays a cocky, director who has just returned from a party honoring his new movie and he’s riding high from much of the critical acclaim it has received. Malcolm (Washington) is looking forward to unwinding and sharing the special night at his swanky pad—the Caterpillar House in Carmel, California—with his beautiful girlfriend, Marie (Zendaya). She’s whipping up some tasty, boxed mac and cheese for her rising star.
However, there is one review that has ticked Malcolm off and he’s losing his mind over it.

These two are meant for each other and have plenty of history together. Both are flawed to a fault and have egos that are out of this world.

Marie wants to be an actress too and has supported Malcolm through thick and then. That’s why she felt slighted when Malcolm didn’t mention or thank her during his acceptance speech at the party. It’s a big deal for Marie because Malcolm’s movie is loosely based on her former life as a drug addict.

When Marie asks Malcolm why he didn’t acknowledge her or even consider her for the leading role, well, it’s game on now.

Malcolm and Marie’s war of words are harsh, cruel and they fly fast and furiously. They’re like watching a championship fight that just won’t end. Plus, you don’t want it to because seeing Malcolm and Marie passionately baring their tortured souls is both fascinating and shocking.

In addition, this is a gorgeously rendered black and white movie. While “Malcolm & Marie” may not be for everyone, it’s quite a showcase for Washington and Zendaya’s acting talents.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.

Watch This Trailer For "MALCOLM & MARIE"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics' Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 94
Production Company: Paramount
Director: Arthur A. Seidelman
Director of Photography: Hanania Baer
Screenwriter: Mark McClafferty, Clint Smith, Mark E. Corry, Lin Marlin and Sam Egan
Author: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

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Prior to his TV and film career, Michael Warren was a standout basketball player for which of the following colleges?
San Francisco State University--Gators
University California, Los Angeles--Bruins
Cal State University San Bernardino--Coyotes
University of San Francisco--Dons