Malcolm and Marie has gotten mixed reviews. Well, not really, people either like it or they don’t – but that’s neither here nor there.
This random chain of thoughts isn’t for the “I would never stand for that type of treatment” women (or men). This is for people like me who at some point(s) in life have tried so hard to make everything be the way it “should” be. And this can be anything from parenting to romantic partnership.
There is a monologue toward the end of the film in which Marie explains to Malcolm how she feels about not being thanked at a huge moment in his life. It stuck with me. It is relatable content. It made me think of Bernadine in Waiting To Exhale when she’s explaining how she was the “background to your foreground”.
On the surface it seems petty to even imagine that we would center ourselves in the midst of our partner’s success. But, in fact, how often have we been put to the side? Made to feel as though all that we give is nothing at all. The vulnerability comes in here.
Are we even able to admit we feel this way, whether to ourselves or to someone else?
I remember one time I was excited about a project, nothing big, just something that tickled my fancy. I shared the thought with someone and instead of the response being interest or excitement or encouragement – the very things I would have given were the situation reversed – I was met with “ok”.
I thought about that as Marie listed all the little ways she actionably loves and lifts Malcolm while not receiving that in return. I know it’s easy to say “but people love differently so it can’t be expected that it is returned in the same ways it was given”. And I agree. But often I think we get lost here. This is the place and space that allows us to continually find reasons why it’s ok that we get what’s left. People express love differently, but I think when it’s healthy, the outcome is still the same …. BOTH parties feel like they matter.
I’ve written before that, under the auspices of love, people can use you up and drain you dry. From you they receive support, encouragement, feedback, and a whole cheer squad. You’re being Marie, doing what you thought was the way to love and be loved. Then you look up one day and begin to count the days, weeks, months, and possibly years that in fact – you’ve been trying to love enough for two.
It does not work. It cannot.
Love is a verb.