Charlie Kaufman's conversational drama I'm Thinking of Ending It All (2020)
, in which the characters spend most of their time driving in the car and talking about problems so gently as if they were afraid to say too much and hurt each other's feelings. Their pacing is fluid, so it's understandable — at least it's traceable. In Malcolm & Marie, Levinson creates a dynamic with regular whiplash and knife-throwing. Conflict is inevitable and neither of the participants will compromise.
The picture does not become a simple reflection on human relationships during the quarantine. "What I feel is much deeper," Marie says, sobbing, and pushes the idea that what's going on is all about satiety, when two people are crammed into even the biggest house. Levinson himself drew on personal experience, and this somewhat clarifies what is going on, because it is much easier to reliably tell a quarrel when you go through it yourself.
Each monologue is reasoned and sincere, but also egotistical, narcissistic and sadistic. The only thing confusing is the unexpected talk of racism, of the inability of modern filmmaking to go beyond the limits it sets for itself. On the one hand, it is rational to hear the dark-skinned director's dissatisfaction with the reviews of "white-haired" critics, but on the other hand, they do not fit in with the overall picture and only remind us of Malcolm's narcissism. And even Marie's brief discussion of her role as a jeweller in the creator's life almost touches on the status of women but does so, so superficially that it would have been better not to touch on it at all. Levinson tries several times to throw a stone at the mores of modern Hollywood but fails to do so, intentionally or accidentally. In the intervals, however, we can only catch our breath before the next avalanche of insults.
The most illogical thing about this movie is the ending, where the characters don't run away from each other in different directions, but still stay together. We can't hear what they're talking about outside the window: discussing the review again or continuing to figure things out. But we do know that things will go on and on. Perhaps it will drag on for a long time. And it's only illogical for us, watching other people's drama from the sidelines. For Malcolm and Marie, this relationship may be the only thing that makes their lives brighter in a monochromatic world. They love to criticize and do not accept remarks made to them, they see their own reflection everywhere even without a mirror, and they deny the possibility of beautiful things existing without them. Therefore, the disciple of the saint and the beloved of God (yes, these are many interpretations of the names of the main characters) gnaw into each other more and more, dooming them to remain not in a loving embrace, but somewhere between the fangs. And they will continue to torture each other without the possibility of "loving themselves enough to accept another's love."