Marmalade Review – A Waste of a Talented Cast

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Marmalade releases to theaters and VOD on February 8, 2024.

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Joe Keery seems primed and prepped to become the next major star of the big screen. He’s young, charismatic and possesses an every-man charm that makes him endearing to audiences. While he’s conquered the realm of television as the fan-favorite Steve Harrington in Netflix’s Stranger Things, the transition to film seems to be a mountain he’s struggled to climb and conquer. Marmalade, unfortunately, doesn’t showcase the level of excellence that I believe Keery to be capable of.

The Plot

Joe Keery and Camila Morrone in Marmalade
Joe Keery and Camila Morrone in Marmalade

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The story of Baron (Keery) and his ill-fated romance with Marmalade (Camila Morrone) unfolds as its recounted from the inside of a jail cell. Baron leads a quiet, simple life taking care of his mother; however that tranquility is upended when Marmalade enters his life and leads him down a dangerous path of crime and betrayal.

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Marmalade Critique

Camila Morrone dominates the screen in Keir O’Donnell’s directorial-debut. You may remember O’Donnell from Wedding Crashers where he played Todd, the “amazing painter” and black sheep of the wealthy Cleary clan. He has a long list of acting credits to his name, but to me he’ll always be Todd Cleary. His experience as a character actor benefits the screenplay, which he also wrote. The characters of Baron and Marmalade command the screen and their contrasting personalities bring a vibrant flair to the Bonnie and Clyde tale of romance and outlaws.

Where the film stumbles, and ultimately falls, is in its lack of clarity and coherence. It’s not difficult to follow, but the choices it makes are ones that leave you scratching your head and wondering what the reasoning was behind it. O’Donnell seems to have a clear affection for the heist genre and all of the tropes and plot points that accompany it. The thing about tropes and clichés is that they only work when utilized as a building block of soundly structured frame. Here, those tropes and clichés are used as the base upon which the entire film is built, and it ultimately gives out under its own weight.

It has its moments, and is admittedly entertaining; however, I found myself rolling my eyes scene after scene, especially as the film neared its conclusion. Worst of all, I wasn’t really interested in how it would end. I was never pulled into the world enough to have a vested interest in the outcome, and that’s a death sentence for this type of movie.

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In Conclusion

Marmalade loses steam in the third act due to a misguided need to interject twists and turns that undermine the strong efforts of it’s first hour. The cast all shine despite a script that doesn’t give them enough to work with, but those performances aren’t enough to salvage what we’re left with. Ultimately, its a love story without the romance and a heist movie without much of a heist.

5/10

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Written by Joshua Ryan

Articles Published: 238

Joshua Ryan is the Creative Coordinator and Head Film & TV Critic for FandomWire. He's a member of the Critics Choice Association and spokesperson for the Critics Association of Central Florida. Joshua is also one of the hosts of the podcast, The Movie Divide.