I Care a Lot: Film Review

I Care a Lot

I knew I Care a Lot would be very much my cup of tea when I found out Rosamund Pike would be playing a character as deliciously dark and wicked as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl and I was not wrong – this is my favourite new release of 2021 so far.

Pike stars as Marla Grayson, who runs a business that is basically one big scam. She is a guardian who gets appointed wards by the court to take care of, meaning she is put in control of an elderly person’s welfare, finances, medical decisions, and more, once that person is deemed unable to look after themselves anymore. Marla is always on the hunt for new wards – after all, putting them in a home and selling off their assets equals a big payday – so, with the help of her partner Fran (Eiza Gonzalez) and a crooked doctor (Alicia Witt), she makes a person who is doing perfectly fine seem incapable of their own welfare in court and gets put in charge of their life. She makes a huge mistake when she does this to Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) – she isn’t who they think she is and she has very powerful connections.

I Care a Lot could have gone very wrong in a different pair of hands, but J Blakeson, who wrote and directed the film, pitched it perfectly. The concept and the whole idea of the scam were shocking yet amazing and I felt constantly thrilled watching it play out with excellent pacing, particularly in the first hour. The twists and turns are jaw-dropping and I couldn’t wait to find out more. Once all the cards are on the table and Jennifer’s family are involved, it loses its way a little – the tone and Blakeson’s grip on the story was a little off and I wasn’t as enamoured with it in the second half. I was 100% sold on it in the first hour and ready to give it 5/5 but then after the second hour, I thought perhaps it’s more of a 4/5. Thankfully, the conclusion brought it back and I was very satisfied.

The screenplay is excellent – how the story developed was perfect and the dialogue was so, so good. Marla gets some fantastic lines to say and Pike seemed to relish saying them. I particularly enjoyed her conversation with Chris Messina as a lawyer for Jennifer. He knew Marla’s game and she knew he knew and it was just so exciting and entertaining to watch their back-and-forth – it’s the best scene in the movie, hands down.

My favourite role of Pike’s is Gone Girl – which she should have won the Oscar for, by the way – and now Marla comes a close second. I think she is so well suited to these dark, cold-hearted, wicked roles. I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing a better job at Marla than her. She’s playing an evil ruthless sociopath, expert liar and someone who seems to have no moral boundaries, but she has to make her watchable and she judges that balance perfectly. Gonzalez has never been better as Marla’s right-hand woman and girlfriend. She is smart, she has more substance than her usual roles, and she really sold their relationship; she just exuded desire for Marla. I also loved both of their wardrobes, but particularly Marla’s yellow trouser suit and trainers. I want!

The cast all around is fantastic. You feel so sorry for Jennifer at first – she’s put in a home against her will, they immediately sell off her house and take away her keys and phone – but it later becomes clear she’s not to be messed with. She had fight in her and I liked her character very much. Peter Dinklage – playing Marla’s new nemesis Roman – has done similar roles before but he does such a good job, and Messina was terrific as a flashy, well-dressed, and well-paid lawyer with the gift of the gab. Sure, nobody is particularly likeable and there’s no character to really root for but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment.

I Care a Lot is very much me. It is the blackest black comedy I’ve seen in a while and Marla’s actions made me uncomfortable, I disliked her and I wanted her to get her comeuppance, but I couldn’t stop watching. I want to see it again!

On Amazon Prime Video now

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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xmen2

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