The Laziness of Malcolm & Marie
Here's the context: Malcolm & Marie is a movie that came out on Netflix maybe a couple weeks ago. The official description from Google: "A filmmaker on the brink of Hollywood glory and his girlfriend, whose story made his career, find themselves pushed towards a reckoning as a single tumultuous night decides the fate of their relationship."
Marie starts the reckoning with a warning to Malcolm: don't do it. But he pushes. And then she shares that the issue betwixt them is he did not publicly thank her for using her story to prop up his work. She was a drug addict and struggled with suicide, and the main character he wrote for his movie goes through this as well. And yet, they fight. Malcolm goes really mean for some reason in trying to prove the role wasn't based on her life. And then maybe halfway through the movie (I'm not going to watch it again to make sure), he admits he wrote the role for her.
Maybe it was the weed, but I was like, what? You wrote the role for her, didn't end up casting her in it, and then... Want to fight with her because she thought you based the role on her life and wanted a 'thank you'? You deign to say you didn't write the role based on her life... But you wrote the role? For her?
It just did not track for me. I was not able to see how this character could write a role with stuff that was directly lifted from his girlfriend’s life for her, as an actor, and then deny it. Please, if I'm not seeing something, @ me.
It felt like the writers just wanted to set up whatever they wanted to set up, and then sure he reveals he wrote the role for her, and it is heavily based on her life, but whatever story the writers wanted to tell came first. I'm curious as to what that story was. Did they just want to show a couple eviscerating each other?
Thing is, we could have had Malcolm admit where he was wrong and apologize at the beginning of the movie.
If the point of this project was to just show a toxic couple being toxic, the same thing could have been accomplished multiple ways. Malcolm says: You're right, I wrote this role for you and based it on your life. I didn't thank you.
And then, because Marie had a small but heavy list of resentments, she goes in, he goes in (this is what the movie is anyway. Literally), drama ensues.
This kind of thing in a story really gets me going. When a character reveals something that shows them to be a little too obtuse. I’m making an assumption with ‘lazy writing’ in the title, but it felt like Malcolm had to be fully toxic and have all of the cognitive dissonance in order for whatever story the writers wanted to tell.
Would it have been so wrong if he admitted, with some quickness, that he was wrong from the start?
Would the story be less impactful if Malcom had been given the ability to connect two dots and show a little growth?
I don’t think so. As in real life, a little growth can provide all the drama on its own, just fine.