March 21, 2021
I remember the worries of moviegoers when the English actress Rosamund Pike pierced around the world with David Fincher Missing girl (2014). They feared that the impressive and memorable performance would classify Pike as a crazy, insane woman on screen.
After all, it happened to Linda Fiorentino after John Dahl’s The last seduction (1994). And while Sharon Stone has had her share of the movie star’s spotlight, she has never really escaped her iconic Paul Verhoeven character. Primary instinct (1992).
Luckily for Pike, it hasn’t been typed correctly yet. But she also did not find such great success as Missing girl with one of the period pieces in which she has performed since then. Cinephiles can now see her revisiting the femme fatale villain type for the first time in nearly seven years with the grim satire of J. Blakeson I care a lot for Netflix.
Marla Grayson (Pike) is a full-time professional legal guardian for many elderly patients in nursing homes. What people don’t know is that she shamelessly scams and manipulates the law to let her take responsibility for these elderly people so that she can make money by wresting out their inheritances.
Marla’s schedule is foolproof thanks to the help of her girlfriend and business partner, Fran (Eiza Gonzlez), and opportunistic medic Karen Amos (Alicia Witt). When Karen presents the duo with a “cherry,” a single, childless, close family elder, she has found, it seems, the perfect opportunity. Until the icing on the cake, Jennifer (Dianne Wiest) is revealed to have a secret relative, Roman (Peter Dinklage), who is part of the Russian Mafia.
Unlike Emerald Fennell’s recent satire Promising young woman, where the lead role of Carey Mulligan punishes people who arguably deserve it, Blakeson’s I care a lot has no redeeming character to find. Our protagonists are unethical frauds and the antagonists are the Mafia. Even by dark comedy standards, I wondered a lot during the first two acts why we should care what happens to Marla and Fran once they get in trouble.
Interestingly, I have the same feelings about the Blakeson movie that I had with Promising young woman. We have another questionable narrative with a weak third act that’s barely recorded in the last 30 seconds of the movie.
But all that is technical and aesthetic I care a lot is fine and Pike is doing well, even showing off her “Amazing Amy” look from Missing girl with the same blunt haircut. The casting of Gonzlez is a revelation, as she is one of the last starlets I could have imagined playing a tomboy lesbian. Yet she totally succeeds.
Depending on your tolerance for morally bankrupt characters, I care a lot is a decent new version that’s perfect for home streaming for a free night.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based film critic and content writer, graduating from California State University Northridge.
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