What’s better than a movie review on Valentine’s day about a couple’s fight. Filmed in quarantine by the well-known “euphoria” director Sam Levinson. This film begins with the couple coming home from the boyfriend’s movie premiere; Malcom’s riding off the high from the audience’s reactions and all the critics he was talking to, while you can see Marie simmering in her thoughts while he continues to talk highly of himself. The tension between the couple is visually intense; she sits outside smoking a cigarette while he tells her about critics calling him the next “Spike Lee.” She is trying to bring him down to earth while he becomes upset that she’s not as happy as he is. This reaction to Marie starts the beginning of the series of fights they get into throughout the film.
The director Leviston wrote and directed the film while he is white himself. The writing discusses being black in the film industry, how critics and reporters approach you while trying to be racially aware. From accidentally making slip-ups to the director Malcolm, he says how annoying and racist it is. I can’t help but feel uncomfortable that a white man wrote this; I know he must be completely aware of himself in society but choosing to write about how hard it is to make it in the industry, working and doing everything you can to break through those doors feels wrong, as he is the son of the most esteemed director Barry Levinson. It just feels wrong the amount of nepotism you can feel once you do a bit of research on the director.
The movie felt like I was watching verbal abuse on screen. I think the actors Zendaya and John David Washington carried the film with the writing being weak at times and a quite repetitive argument played repeatedly. The full circle part was how he basically wrote about his girlfriend’s life, being a recovering addict, and he didn’t even thank her in his award speech. The whole fight was about him not appreciating everything she has done for him in their relationship and how he can get in his head about his work, without thinking how different his film would be without Malcolm experiencing Marie’s struggles firsthand.
Do I recommend this movie? maybe. It depends on what you focus on more, and I think the reviews are so split because, on the one hand, the acting is great, Zendaya and John have great chemistry. If the film were focused on why he didn’t thank her or how he seemed to forget that he owes a lot of his writing to her, it would excel. The part where he gets mad about his film critics’ reviews is way too winey, and you can see where a white man came through in writing. And this comes from the anger Levitson felt from getting trashed by critics for his first movie, “Assassination Nation,” so I don’t know what that proved with that monologue, but it felt privileged and childish.