Sam Levinson’s ‘Malcolm and 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 and pompous man who strives for constant validation, even from his beau Marie (Zendaya), who is brutally honest and an active critique to 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 most importantly provides a peek into their failing relationship, owing to their individual shortcomings that somehow has affected the course of their time together. 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 a few of these movies like ‘Malcolm & Marie’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
5. 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 on her fiancee, who is serving in the Korean War. One day, while looking for the latest Thelonious monk record, she chances upon saxophonist Bobby (Nnamdi Asomugha), who immediately develops a crush on her. The pair then begin to flirt over their favorite records while juggling with a life that prevents them from living happily ever after. The movie focuses on the arc of their relationship not very different from ‘Malcolm and Marie,’ which showcases its characters’ declining love for each other through an intense discourse.
4. The Photograph (2020)
‘The Photograph’ is about Michael Block (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 that Isaac still held on to and decides to look her up. The story finally kicks off when he encounters Christina’s estranged daughter, Mae. They instantly like each other but being together for them is not as simple. Relationship problems that initiate a push and pull dynamic are where it meets with ‘Malcolm and Marie’ in terms of the story.
3. Queen and Slim (2019)
On the surface, ‘Queen and Slim’ is more of a dramatic thriller, but the story is undoubtedly held together by the chemistry between its main characters- Queen (Daniel Kaluuya) and Slim (Jodie Turner-Smith). They encounter each other during an awkward first date, which turns into a murder site 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 and Marie,’ the characters have a dispute over his movie, which is loosely based on Marie’s experiences as a black woman. This “romance meets politics” theme is also seen in ‘Queen and Slim.’
2. In the Mood for Love (2000)
Considered no less than a modern-day art piece by Kar-wai Wong, 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, and hence, to ease up the pain left 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 and Marie’ is similarly portrayed through impactful dialogue delivery.
1. 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 heart to heart interactions between its protagonists reminds us of ‘Malcolm and 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 Delphy), 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 after they were last seen in their Paris apartment. They have insightful discussions on parenting, and for a change, they’re also seen talking to younger and older couples, offering different views on love, marriage, and romance. The unmistakable similarity between this movie and ‘Malcolm and Marie’ happens to be conversations that indulge the characters in deep introspection.
1. Certified Copy (2010)
‘Certified Copy’ revolves around Elle (Juliette Binoche) 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 and 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?