By: Isatou Ndure
I Care a Lot is a film about Marla Grayson, played by Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), a criminal who pretends not to be a caretaker. All the while, she is exploiting and abducting elderly people, ripping them from their homes, selling their belongings, and rewarding herself the entire time as she ruins lives in the process.
Marla bribes a psychiatrist to say that an elderly person is mentally incapable of looking after themselves. This being a person with solid financial means who is not too frail and bedridden just yet, but probably on the verge of dementia. Then she works on persuading the judge to nominate her as the legal guardian of the elder. In one motion, Marla Grayson is given the right to put them away in a nursing home, where she can manage them completely, from restricting their visitors to liquidating their bank accounts. She uses the income to pay herself, and the money continues to roll in.
This time around, Marla and her girlfriend and partner Fran (Eiza Gonzalez) came across a golden egg in Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a woman who had no immediate family or debt, only a pretty fortune ready to be mined. However, as their scheme progresses, Marla and Fran find that Mrs. Peterson is not as innocent as she seemed and that their activities had upset the ambitions of a violent Russian criminal lord, Roman Lunyov played by Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), who would stop at nothing to protect his mother.
Roman and Marla reach a ceasefire after she one-ups him. He begins to see the promise of her gambit, and they enter an alliance, building a network of guardians around the U.S. Through this, Marla becomes what she has always wanted to be, a beautifully rich CEO. Yet her reign of terror dramatically came to an end when she was gunned down outside a TV interview. The shooter? Macon Blair, the enraged son of one of Marla’s many conquests. We saw him in the opening sequence after his mother died in Marla’s care, and he did not see her till she had passed. During their first encounter, Macon spouted insults to Marla, saying he wishes she’d get raped and murdered, and she responds, telling him that he’s only harassing her because she is a woman. He kills her as what could only be for vengeance while calling her a ‘bitch’ as he fired the gun.
- The acting from Peter Dinklage, Dianne Wiest, and Rosamund Pike was brilliant.
- Quite the twist.
- Innovative storyline.
- Horrible plot holes
- The most interesting character (Jennifer Peterson), the center of the conspiracy, is written out at the end.
- Ruthless critique of capitalism.
Anybody who likes movies where they have someone to root for should stay the hell away from J Blakeson’s defiantly sour and ironic neo-noir I Care a Lot.
Marla is an anti-hero, or instead, she is supposed to be an anti-hero. Anti-heroes, despite being morally ambiguous, sometimes even flat-out evil, are still characterized by their ability to win over an audience. Because somewhere in the back of their mind’s audiences will support and understand why a character does something bad, and in some small way, they’re kind of rooting for them.
This does not exist with Marla, and if any of the audience disagrees, then they need to do some serious internal reflection because the movie is unsuccessful in its endeavor to create an anti-hero. Even with very skilled acting, I might add, creates a story about someone horrible doing entirely awful things. Marla carries this self-delusion into thinking that she isn’t a bad person when she’s only involved in anything for herself and occasionally Fran.
The director’s answer to feminism is weak. In the movie, Marla uses the vocabulary of female liberation by attempting to make the men around her appear small, but the film does nothing to challenge the gender roles of her boss bitch mindset. When she did toss out banalities about her femininity, it was only as a tactic. What I learned is that Marla doesn’t deserve any kind of sympathy just because she happens to be a woman because her character would rebel against that.
I Care a Lot is sadly very predictable and undercuts elements that managed to elevate it. Killing Marla Grayson was a cheap and easy way to wrap up the film. Marla was a horrible person, and she was punished.