Review: I Care A Lot
A psychological thriller with a dark comic edge, I Care A Lot is really popular right now - here's what we think of it.
According to Marla Grayson, “There’s no such thing as good people,” and J Blakeson’s I Care A Lot is on a crusade to prove her right.
Marla (played by Rosamund Pike, because nobody does icy bitch like Rosamund Pike) has her scheme perfected, the doctor willing to give a false testimony, the judge wrapped around her finger and a nursing home eager to take in her legally appointed wards. The phrase ‘stone-cold’ gives Marla too much credit, she gets pleasure from swindling old people out of their assets, and she’s good at it too. Working alongside Marla in her company built on the carcasses of geriatric dreams, is her business partner Fran (Eiza González). They’re an evil partnership with the potential to be iconic, but despite the chemistry between Pike and González, I wasn’t backing the girl bosses this time.
The moments of tenderness between the couple attempt to contrast the bitter elder abuse, but I didn’t find myself rooting for them at any point. There’s no reason to, because we don’t know why they do it. They go through some rough stuff, but the disregard for the impacts of their crimes prevented me from caring whether they lived or died. In fact, I found myself consistently willing them to meet their end. However, Fran’s incredible hair may tempt me to forgive her survival.
The white-feminist messaging wasn’t lost on me either. Very early on, Marla delivers the line, “Does it sting more because I’m a woman? That you got so soundly beaten in there by someone with a vagina?” Which is slightly jarring considering “it” is her successfully stealing a man’s mother away from him. Other instances in which Marla weaponises female empowerment fall equally flat as there is never any reason to assume Marla believes in what she’s saying, or whether she simply gets pleasure from angering men.
Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage) is, initially, an anti-hero to get behind. When Marla takes on a new ward named Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) with perfect credentials, it appears the sweet old woman is not who she seems. Marla has unknowingly stolen Lunyov’s mother, and he wants her back. As ex Russian mafia, he is willing to do whatever it takes to release Jennifer from Marla’s persistent claw. However, his attempts to take down Marla prove pretty futile; she resembles a cockroach in that she’s disgusting, but able to survive anything. There is so much that could be said about the choices made around Dinklage’s character, but I will refrain, and simply say - the shot of him doing artistic gymnastics on rings will forever be embedded in my memory, and why does he have Myspace emo bangs?
Disappointingly, the recognisable milk carton scene only features briefly, but it is enjoyable nonetheless as it reinforces Marla’s psychotic and methodical nature.
If you're unsure what the 'milk cartoon scene' is, check out this Tweet.
Yes, all of the main characters in this film are varying levels of bad, immoral and greedy, and they succeed because of it, but you’ll be relieved to know there is some revenge for Marla’s victims. It comes very late, but it sure is sweet.