I Care a Lot review – A bold, original film that delivers uncomfortable situations but loses its way

Films have the ability to transport us to a myriad real-life and fictional cities, countries and continents as well as showcasing situations and scenarios that may not have crossed our minds before.

I Care a Lot focuses on Marla Grayson, a savvy, smart businesswoman who is exploiting America’s legal system for her own benefit. She has built a strong reputation for being a capable, caring legal guardian and collects elders by persuading a judge to appoint her on the proviso that they have no family and cannot look after themselves anymore.

This notion — this exploitation of vulnerable people — was completely new to me. Is it really ‘a thing’ or is it an idea that director and writer J Blackson wanted to explore in film?

Within a few minutes of starting I Care a Lot I was angry. Marla — in an award-worthy performance from Pike — is ruthless in her actions and clearly not concerned that what she’s doing is immoral and unethical. To use Marla’s own words — heard in the opening voiceover — she’s “a f***ing lioness”.

Sharp suits, powerful performances and witty wordplay are in abundance in I Care a Lot, but when the credits started to roll I was left feeling rather unsatisfied. The premise is excellent but it becomes farcical.

Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers

We know very little about Marla apart from how she earns her money, that she hates her mother (potentially explaining her disdain of elders) and that she’s in a relationship with Eiza González’s Fran, although that aspect takes a while to actually reveal itself.

However, as the events of the film play out she becomes a highly skilful criminal mastermind with enough confidence to take on a crime syndicate. How does she have this knowledge and where do her supplies (including wig and drugs)?

Speaking of said crime syndicate, Peter Dinklage makes a valiant effort as mob boss Roman Lunyov — whose mother, Jennifer (Dianne Wiest), becomes Marla’s latest victim — but for all the talk of how dangerous he is, Roman appears to be understaffed, operating from a basic looking office and very easy to target.

Thirdly, it is a shame that Wiest disappears from the screen until the film is neatly (and quickly) wrapped up at the end. Wiest’s performance was excellent so I would have liked to have seen a lot more of her.

The final nail in the coffin also concerns Jennifer. As events progress Marla has her transferred to a mental institution as she is “a danger to herself and those around her”. How then is she able to reunite her with her son, Roman? Surely this remarkable recovery would have seemed a bit suspicious to the judge?

I Care a Lot is a bold, original film that delivers uncomfortable situations and wonderfully unlikeable characters that all receive various fitting comeuppances. However, it is not one that I will be eager to re-watch anytime soon.

★★★½


I Care A Lot (2020)

Director: J Blakeson
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González

“A crooked legal guardian who drains the savings of her elderly wards meets her match when a woman she tries to swindle turns out to be more than she first appears.” – IMDb

  • Rosamund Pike was nominated for 1 Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

6 thoughts on “I Care a Lot review – A bold, original film that delivers uncomfortable situations but loses its way

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  1. Great performance by Rosamund Pike of a truly despicable character. I felt the movie lost its way in the last half hour and rushed to a satisfying conclusion. I agree with your points about Roman’s ineptness, Jennifer’s story disappearance then reunion with her son, and lastly Marla’s reckoning in the end.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, dionyb! I agree with you there – I think the ending was rushed as well.
      I saw an article headline the other day that said Dinklage’s mafia boss was “the scariest gangster we’ve seen in years”… Reading that I wondered whether we had watched different films!

  2. I think we’re in agreement about this one, Claire. I like Wiest’s performance too, and I love the few scenes of her going toe-to-toe with Pike. The biting dialog is definitely one of the film’s strength, but like you said, it got waaay too ludicrous. Though I appreciate its bold approach, it’s not something I’m keen on watching again either. But then again, I never felt like re-watching Gone Girl.

    It’s amazing though that my intro to Pike was Pride & Prejudice where she played the demure Jane. She certainly is a versatile actress!

    1. The dialogue was excellent, wasn’t it? I didn’t include him in my review but Chris Messina’s Dean Ericson was brilliant. As you picked up on, I really enjoyed his scene with Pike.
      Yes, Pike is versatile! I think she really excels in this type of role, though, considering her excellent performance in Gone Girl too.

  3. Nice review. 🙂 Think I enjoyed this a little bit more than you but, yes, I can see why some people hate this one. Although they seem to have gone overboard on hating this one for some reason! Loads of movies with hateful characters have fans. Do wish we’d seen more of Wiest – liked her character in this. Did really enjoy all the performances and had fun with the movie but can’t see ever watching it again.

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