We Have Some Thoughts on Malcolm & Marie's Final Scene
The turbulent relationship between a filmmaker and his girlfriend is the center of Sam Levinson's Malcolm & Marie, and however you may feel about the entire project, there's no doubt that stars Zendaya and John David Washington put on some of their best performances ever.
As the pair battle back and forth about the highs and lows of their relationship, trading barbs and taking shots when able, their night comes to an end as Marie breaks down all the ways she has been the partner doing the heavy lifting in their relationship. Malcolm finally thanks her, putting an apparent end to their hours-long battle. The next morning finds Malcolm alone in bed, and he wanders the house, calling for Marie in a moment that echoes an earlier scene in the film. He finally finds her standing near the lake, and as the audience watches from inside their bedroom, he stands beside her in supposed silence.
Although there aren't any words spoken, it's an assumed truth that Marie will stay with Malcolm despite his best efforts to emotionally destroy her. Their vicious cycle will continue until one of them leaves the other or one of them loses themself to the dark void that they've created in one another. Keep reading for four editors' thoughts on the final scene and the torturous relationship between Malcolm and Marie.
"After a night of gaslighting, victim blaming, and a general lack of compassion from Malcolm, Marie exhibits the same damn grace that so many women before her have. She spills out her heart, highlights Malcolm's ungratefulness, and then crawls into bed with him, only to receive a dry apology.
I wanted justice! I wanted Marie to be gone. I wanted her to have woken up in the middle of the night and decided that she no longer wanted to be with Malcolm. And I wanted Malcolm's whole world to crash from her abrupt absence. Because that truly is the only way men ever learn." — Iyana Robertson, entertainment and trending news content director
"The ending to Malcolm & Marie isn't satisfying, but then again, it doesn't seem like the most satisfying ending for the film would've been possible for how toxic their relationship is. As soon as I saw Malcolm wake up alone, I knew Marie had relapsed, and he would find her dead somewhere, and that's how the film would end . . . but it didn't. Instead, he finds her standing alone outside, and he joins her, leaving pretty much everything unresolved. Except it might not be as uncertain as we'd like to think. Throughout the film, we see the highs and lows of their relationship repeat themselves. If anything, this ending just serves as a clean slate for the cycle to start over again. I'm glad that Marie is simply standing outside because anything else outside of her leaving Malcolm would've been devastating." — Grayson Gilcrease, celebrity and entertainment assistant editor
"The whole film, I felt like I was sitting on the edge of my seat as Malcolm and Marie fought, made up, and then fought again. By the final scene, I was almost positive that Marie had decided to leave Malcolm, so I was definitely surprised when he found her standing outside their home. The ending is just so open-ended! As the night is finally over, is Malcolm and Marie's relationship coming to an end as well? Or does the ending signify that they are starting over again like the beginning of a new day? It's unclear, but having 'Liberation' by Outkast play in the background is certainly telling." — Kelsie Gibson, celebrity and entertainment editor
"Malcolm & Marie took me on a roller coaster of emotions from start to finish. It is passionate, raw, and funny (at times), yet at the same time, it is volatile, triggering, and all consuming. It goes without saying that Zendaya and John David Washington delivered an Oscar-worthy performance, but I just have a bone to pick with that ending. Actually, I don't even think I can call it that because there is no real resolution.
After a long night of verbally and emotionally tearing each other apart, Zendaya and Washington's characters get back into bed and wake up the next morning like the night never happened. Excuse me, what? Instead, I would have preferred if Marie had left Malcolm and walked away from the relationship, especially after that infamous bathtub scene. I'm not someone who usually needs a happy ending, but in this case, it's clear that Marie and Malcolm bring out the worst in each other, and we all know how those relationships usually end, right? I just really want and need Marie to heal." — Monica Sisavat, celebrity and entertainment editor