Netflix has yet another strong contender for this award season, as the first reactions surrounding its upcoming original release – Malcolm & Marie – hints at something special, potentially even a few Oscars. From the performances of both Zendaya and John David Washington, to the screenplay and direction of Euphoria showrunner Sam Levinson, as well as the cinematography achieved by Marcell Rev, the story of two estranged lovers confined within their home has evidently captured the hearts and minds of critics.
“A filmmaker (portrayed by Washington) returns home with his girlfriend (portrayed by Zendaya) following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what’s sure to be imminent critical and financial success. The evening suddenly takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the strength of their love.”
At face value, it’s a tale that doesn’t exactly leap off the pages. But the first sign that Malcolm & Marie could be so much more – aside from the powerhouse talent involved – was the bidding war it instigated between A24, HBO, Searchlight Pictures, and more. Netflix, of course, eventually secured the distribution rights for the wildly intimate flick – the final price reportedly coming in at US$30 million.
What’s even more incredible about this entire ordeal is the fact Levinson managed to pen the entire screenplay in just six days, and completed filing in roughly two weeks. In black and white 35mm film, no less. Not to mention, under COVID-19 restrictions. Although there’s an argument to be made that this production was practically built for COVID-19.
If Malcolm & Marie does indeed receive an Oscar nod for any key categories – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress (supporting or lead), Best Screenplay (original or adapted), etc. – it’ll follow in the tradition of such films as Marriage Story, The Two Popes, The Irishman, Mudbound, and Roma. The latter of which actually earned Alfonso Cuaron the Best Director award in 2019. Even without an Oscar nod, it could very well still gain the right kind of attention a la the Safdie Brother’s electric Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler.
Malcolm & Marie will hit select theatres this month and Netflix on February 21st.
Check out some of the reviews so far below.