I want to start by saying that Malcolm should have thanked Marie and she is allowed to change her mind about being mad. Also, Malcolm was pulling stuff out of the air. That movie was about Marie. The main character’s life was the main plot of his film. Don’t give me the “It’s about all types of people” excuse but let’s go back.
Did you appreciate the black and white aesthetic? Because I did! The dimensions you get with the black and white aesthetic is more rich, for me personally, than films in color. I also believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, that to light a movie that is black and white is much more strategic than lighting a set that will be filmed in color. Either way, it was beautiful.
There are two different arguments going on here, the one between Malcolm and Marie and the fight Malcolm has with his art and critics. The movie is one hour and 46 minutes and I think that it could have been better if 15 to 20 minutes were shaved off. The tirade that Malcolm had about critics and their interpretation of one’s art was fine but it was too long when he was out on the patio just yelling. When he and Marie had the conversation earlier in the movie on the same topic, I felt what he was saying more, it was more impactful and Marie had an opinion. It wasn’t a one-sided conversation that just seemed like Malcolm yelling into the night air. Also, the added conversation in the second act I caught Marie contradict herself which you could argue is part of her character but still. Less powerful.
What I loved about this film is the layers that were revealed as the film progressed.
What started as an argument about forgetting to thank Marie at the movie premiere turned into a revelation about their entire relationship. Do I think this is a toxic relationship? No, but I do think the intensity of how they communicate with each other is what is supposed to make us believe this is a toxic situation. We don’t have any knowledge of how they usually have conversations. This could have been issues that finally came to a head over time and that’s why it was so intense. Levinson doesn’t really elaborate on how they communicate in the past.
The arguments. Does Marie have a point about Malcolm and him not really having to struggle? Yes, yes I do believe she has a point. I don’t think she’s negating his talent but he had other movies that, clearly, didn’t make the mark. This film is having critics call him the next Spike Lee and Barry Jenkins. He just happened to be with a 20 year-old drug addict and a 20 year-old drug addict is the subject of this masterpiece of a film…I’m not buying it. He gave this list of women he met years ago and how each of these women effected his life. He rattled off some superficial things about the character in his movie and how she came about from those women and not solely Marie. Again, don’t buy it. From what I gathered, his main character was a 20 year-old drug addicted woman on a journey to get clean. Real sorry here, Malcolm, but that you took directly from Marie, and I would assume, since she is so adamant about it, that she saw things that directly related to her life on screen. Deeper in the conversation, she said she read draft after draft of the movie and gave notes that he used. He loses this argument for me.
Here’s where Marie is at fault. Even though you helped him with notes and drafting ideas, you cannot think that you automatically deserve to play this character. Yes, I know, someone somewhere is throwing tomatoes at me but I will say it again. Just because she put in that amount of work, doesn’t not mean that she gets an automatic ticket to play Imani. The fake out and heart attack she gave us as the viewer was GOLD but she didn’t do that in the audition. Why? I get it. She was in a rut and wants her success to come just as fast as Malcolm’s has but he was right. Malcolm did a lot of stuff he didn’t want to do and didn’t get recognized for. She let the past demon of her feelings during her drug addiction get in the way of what she was trying to accomplish. It’s not that Malcolm didn’t think she could do it but she didn’t try at all. She relied on Malcolm just picking her because of him being her boyfriend and this being, mainly (I said it!), her story. It is not his job to give her that shot. She has to earn the right to tell her story. If I were her, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I know there is someone who views things way different than I do so let me hear it. What about the line, “I don’t need you but I love you.” Someone explain that to me because I don’t agree.