We feel like the trailer for the upcoming Malcolm & Marie should be prefaced by its press release:
Writer/Director Sam Levinson teams up with Zendaya and John David Washington for an achingly romantic drama in which a filmmaker (Washington) and his girlfriend (Zendaya) return home 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.
Working with cinematographer Marcell Rev, Levinson creates a film of rare originality; an ode to the great Hollywood romances as well as a heartfelt expression of faith in the medium’s future.
We felt like the context was needed because … man, we don’t know about this one. While we get that feeling of epic, melodramatic, stylish romance in the grand Hollywood tradition, the black-and-white conceit, the setting, the costumes, and especially the dialogue all make it sound pretty damn cheesy. We also felt like you needed to know this was a Hollywood couple after a movie premiere not just to explain their outfits, but to kind of couch the overwhelming obviousness of their age difference.
To be fair, John David Washington is 36 and Zendaya is 24; hardly a scandalous age gap. It’s just that Hollywood has such an overwhelming habit and history of normalizing older man/younger woman casting choices without ever examining them in-story (like the otherwise well-done Mank did recently, to its huge detriment). A hot director would absolutely be dating or living with a significantly younger actress type, so the film has lots of room to just let the relationship exist and the age difference go uncommented-upon, but it would feel like a weird avoidance in a film seemingly all about two people going deep on their own relationship and history.
Still, it looks stylish and these two have such a weird energy with each other that it could be interesting. We’re having a hard time seeing Zendaya in this kind of role, but she just won an Emmy, so we’ll see how far her wings spread now.
[Photo Credit: Netflix – Video Credit: Netflix via YouTube]