I Care a Lot

  • 06 Feb - 12 Feb, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) is a con artist working legally as a professional guardian. She has the system wired so that she can have doctors and the courts working to her advantage to essentially kidnap the elderly, take control of all their assets, and stick them in a home where they’ll never see their families again. Marla and her girlfriend/partner Fran (Eiza González) think they’ve landed a whale when they come across the wealthy Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a woman who supposedly has no family connections whatsoever. They go through their standard game plan of stripping Jennifer of her independence and wealth, but unfortunately for Marla, Jennifer has an undisclosed relationship with a mysterious mobster (Peter Dinklage) who will go to great lengths to see Jennifer released from Marla’s care. But Marla, proud of her identity as a predator, refuses to concede to anyone.

You have to go into I Care a Lot accepting that you won’t really be “rooting” for anyone, and that’s okay when the characters are compelling as they are here. Pike made waves in 2014 for her performance as the twisted and unforgiving Amy Dunne in Gone Girl, and Marla is very much in that mold of an apex predator who refuses to be cowed by anyone. Dinklage is equally delightful as the unflappable mobster, and his more “fantastical” evil provide a nice release valve. We’re essentially watching two monsters fight for two hours, and as long as you can set aside the weight of their vile behaviour, their callousness towards humanity, and what it says about America that these kinds of people not only avoid justice but prosper, you can have a pretty good time.

Some viewers probably won’t be able to make it past the first 20 minutes or so because the picture becomes so bleak. When we finally learn that there’s more to Jennifer and that Marla has messed with the wrong old lady, it’s like you can finally breathe again even if you don’t know how the story is going to turn out.

I Care a Lot is frequently able to coast on its cool, calm, and nasty presence. It’s so far away from anything polite and decent that you can revel in its outsized circumstances even if those circumstances don’t always make a whole lot of sense.