Despite its magnificent actors, its beautiful photography and a few virtuoso shots, Malcolm & Marie, Sam Levinson’s new film is attracting much criticism. Attempted explanation with the drafting of Los Angeles Times, sucked in spite of herself into the controversy.
“After a year spent debating a deadly pandemic, racist police violence, a contested US presidential election (followed by an armed uprising and an impeachment trial), not to mention the worrying closure of so many cultural places – including film sets and cinemas – the fact that people have the energy to be outraged against a film is gratifying. ” In the Los Angeles Times, critic and columnist Mary McNamara reacts to debates over Malcolm & Marie, a black and white fiction directed by Sam Levinson (the creator of the Euphoria, broadcast in the United States on HBO and in France on OCS), which Netflix posted on February 5. A debate that affects in a very particular way the editorial staff of the Californian daily.
A “white girl” who sows discord
The action of Malcolm & Marie takes place overnight. A young couple, Marie (Zendaya) and Malcolm (John David Washington), return home after attending the premiere of Malcolm’s new feature film, screened as part of a film festival in Los Angeles. Very quickly, an argument breaks out, and for hours the lovers will debate and tear each other apart around themes as serious as the raison d’être of Malcolm’s film, authenticity in art, the essence of love or the biases and prejudices of film critics.
In one scene, Malcolm lashes out in flowery terms against an never-named criticism, presented as “The white chick of Los Angeles Times”, to whom he holds a grudge for having brought down his previous film in flames. She certainly found her new feature film a “Tour de force”, but he considers her incapable, because of her gender and the color of her skin, of really understanding her work.
Problem: As Mary McNamara points out, the Los Angeles Times counts only two white women among his film critics. One of them is Katie Walsh, a freelance employee. And she had curled Assassination Nation, the previous film by Sam Levinson, which she said represented “The obvious failure of social criticism”.
Anger, suspicion and mask play
Faced with the risk of conflict of interest, the Los Angeles Times entrusted the charge of criticizing Malcolm & Mary to Justin Chang, renowned feather, who has for him to be neither a white, nor a “chick”. He delivered, like many of his colleagues, a mixed review. Title of his article: “Zendaya is wonderful. The rest, rather
The giant of the west coast. Founded in 1881, it is the most left-wing of the country’s strongest daily newspapers and a leading specialist in social issues and the entertainment industry. It was not until the 1940s that he became the