MALCOLM & MARIE*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens with filmmaker Malcolm Elliott (John David Washington) returning home with his actress girlfriend Marie Jones (Zendaya) from the premiere of his latest film. He is hyped up over the audience response to the film and is boasting about critics he talked to, particularly a white female critic from the L.A. Times that says he can be the next Spike Lee or Barry Jenkins. However, Marie is upset because Malcolm forgot to thank her. Malcolm starts arguing that he always thanks her and that she is just making a big deal over a small detail.
He sits down to eat the mac and cheese that Marie made and continues yelling, making references to the film’s main character, Imani, that Marie thinks was entirely based on her. After Marie makes her argument that she just wants Malcolm to acknowledge her, he apologizes and starts kissing her. They lay down and start kissing and talking to each other lovingly and playfully.
Soon, Marie goes outside to relieve herself, and Malcolm starts arguing again after asking why she didn’t just use the bathroom. She tells him he is too needy, and Malcolm brings up how Marie used to be a pill addict when he met her, making it sound like SHE should thank HIM for putting her in rehab and getting her back on her feet. Marie then states that she thinks he only got with her because she was “good material” for his films, then saying that Malcolm has nothing unique to say that other directors like Lee or Jenkins do and that he is mediocre.
Marie settles in for a bath while Malcolm is outside raging. He goes into the bathroom to bring her down further by saying that Imani is based on multiple ex-girlfriends and that the only thing Marie influenced was the ending where Imani has a drug-induced breakdown. He does this to cut Marie down the way she did to him, and it appears to work since she starts crying when he leaves.
Marie rejoins Malcolm outside the house. After a brief, civil talk, Malcolm goes back inside and freaks out because the review from the L.A. Times critic has gone up but he cannot quickly access it. When he finally does read it, he becomes irritated at the critic’s assumption that the ending with Imani is meant for the movie as a whole to be the American health care system’s negligence of black women. Malcolm argues that his film was not meant to be political since he thinks films like “Do The Right Thing” were novelties in their time, and films that try to be political now are trying too hard. After he calms down, he and Marie go back to being loving and playful.
Afterward, Marie asks Malcolm why he didn’t cast her as Imani. He says that he didn’t feel that she really wanted it, to which she responds she knows he didn’t want her to play the part. Marie states that she knows Malcolm didn’t want to share the spotlight with her, to make it look like the work is all his.
Marie then goes to Malcolm with a kitchen knife, going on a monologue about how she slept with his friends and stole from his mother, but it was just an act to show that she still does have the talent to pull off a character like Imani. After she reveals the act, Malcolm goes back to being madly in love with her. They start kissing again until they bring up the film and the critic again. Marie says that she thinks Imani was sexualized. Soon, they argue again, but instead of being at each others’ throats like before, Marie gets real and says she wishes Malcolm would really be thankful for her in a genuine and sincere way, not just for his work in the film, but for everything else she has done for him. Malcolm is moved to tears by this and feels remorseful for how he’s acted all night.
The two prepare for bed. Malcolm quietly thanks Marie, to which she says, “You’re welcome.” In the morning, Marie wakes up before Malcolm and goes outside. He then walks out to join her, and the two stand silently overlooking the area behind the house.
Malcolm Elliott is a filmmaker whose new film has just premiered. He goes home with his girlfriend, actress Marie Jones, who is upset that he didn't thank her at the premiere. They spend the night alternating between arguments and being passionately in love.
The roots of their problems range from Malcolm's desire to stand out as a filmmaker without making it look like he's only trying to be political, and Marie's history as a pill addict being used as part of the basis for his film's protagonist. Eventually, the two appear to reach an understanding, but the future of their relationship is uncertain.