Malcolm And Marie Ending: Who Won The Argument?

Malcolm and Marie embracing in the kitchen

Warning: spoilers for the ending of Malcolm and Marie are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, now’s the time to catch up on the fireworks.

If you’re looking for a knock down, drag out fight of emotional stakes, then writer/director Sam Levinson’s Malcolm and Marie is the movie for you. Over the course of almost two hours, Zendaya and John David Washington wage war against each other, through words and gestures, that push their titular pair to the edge and back again. By time we get to Malcolm And Marie’s ending, both characters have laid it all out on the field, and only one can be declared the winner. We’re about to look into the final moments of that film, and it’ll come with a breakdown of what both parties were looking for that night, answering the question every couple has after a big fight: who won?

Malcolm and Marie standing outside on the sand

What Happened At The End Of Malcolm And Marie

After a night’s worth of fighting, Malcolm (John David Washington) and Marie (Zendaya) settle into bed. Worn out from their fight, Malcolm says two things to Marie, “I’m sorry. Thank you.” With a full court assault that saw everything from Malcolm’s past relationships to Marie’s previous issues with substance abuse come into question, this couple couldn’t have had a fuller night. And this is without the issue of whether or not Marie prepared Malcolm’s mac and cheese in accordance with Kraft’s strict guidelines.

Waking up the next morning, Malcolm is looking for Marie, and finds her outside, standing on a dune. He walks up and stands next to her, both of them looking out in the distance and having a conversation we can’t hear. All we can do is guess what’s going on between these lovers, and even then it’s a rather ambiguous fate. But who won the argument of the night isn’t as open-ended.

Malcolm and Marie Malcolm eats mac and cheese during a fight

Malcolm’s Side Of The Night’s Argument

The premiere of Malcolm’s latest film, Imani, started the argument between the two parties involved in Malcolm and Marie’s big, feature length brawl. As far as writer/director Malcolm is concerned, his work is not a mere rip-off of Marie’s life experiences getting clean. So the big thank you that she thinks she was owed in his speech is, to Malcolm, something that isn’t worth a big kerfuffle. Proving through examples of past relationships inspired Imani’s protagonist, Malcolm doesn’t feel that Marie’s demands to be thanked as an inspiration are valid.

If anything, he feels that he’s owed more credit from Marie for being there for her throughout all of her troubles and the occasional infidelity. Pushing for his younger partner to be more independent and build her own life, Malcolm feels her inspiration and authenticity aren’t enough to make Imani a hit. Malcolm believes you need someone with cinematic talent to turn a story into something interesting.

Malcolm and Marie Marie sits with her legs on top of Malcolm

Marie’s Side Of The Night’s Argument

Over on Marie’s side of Malcolm and Marie’s night from Hell, she feels very under-appreciated and uncomfortable with how Malcolm treats the woman that could be considered his muse. He never thanked her for the inspiration for Imani, which came from her own life story of getting clean. A lot of the experiences depicted were merely “material” for Malcolm’s career, which is ready to take off.

Furthermore, Malcolm cast another actor in the role Marie inspired, even though he knew she was interested in playing that part. Which only ties into her greater point in Malcolm and Marie’s central battle: that Malcolm shows more emotion and respect towards anyone who isn’t him. Since his star is set to blast off with the success he’s about land with Imani, Marie is afraid Malcolm’s ego will become insufferable. She’s already seen the start of that process taking hold. Unlike her director boyfriend, Marie thinks that she’s merely an inspiration to his work, and that authenticity can buy you just as much as cinematic knowhow.

Malcolm and Marie sitting outside, unable to look at each other

Who Won Malcolm And Marie’s Argument?

There has to be a winner in the every argument, doesn’t there? Well, not always, as emotional word play like that seen in Malcolm and Marie sometimes doesn’t have a clearly defined goal to be achieved. Without an endgame in sight, an argument can go in circles until it either peters out, or both parties leave. However, there is an achievable goal in Malcolm and Marie’s big showdown, as well as a clear winner.

All Marie wants from Malcolm is the "thank yous." She wants to be thanked for running the household, being there for Malcolm, and being his inspiration. After the events of Malcolm and Marie, there’s a demand for a very special “I’m sorry” thrown into the mix, thanks to how Malcolm has treated her throughout their relationship, as well as that night. And Marie gets both in the end, as seen in the ending of the film.

If Malcolm had any sort of goal for the evening’s proceedings, they’re unclear at best and non-existent at worst. So as far as I’m concerned, Marie totally wins Malcolm and Marie’s emotional olympics, and she’s probably had enough of his antics to really contemplate leaving him for good. Though I’ll tell you who’s the real loser in this movie’s battle of wits and words: Malcolm and Marie’s neighbors. At least, that’s what this video from Ryan Ken would have us believe, as we’ve already seen internet comedy spawn from the debut of this infamous shouting match:

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Arguments are very subjective, and Malcolm and Marie is no exception, which means it’s time to give you folks in the audience the opportunity to weigh in. Who do you think won the argument? Take our poll, and jump into the comments to tell us what your outlook on this movie’s events are. Think of it as the Malcolm and Marie home game, only with less emotional scarring, and no soundtrack.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.