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Film Review: I Care a Lot (2021)

IMDb Link: I Care a Lot (2020)
Director: J Blakeson
Writer: J Blakeson
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González

Synopsis: 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.

Many people have been anticipating the big return of Rosamund Pike on our screens after her performance in Fincher’s Gone Girl. Whilst many people know my thoughts on that film, I will say that Pike’s performance as Amazing Amy is by far the best aspect of it. So, when I heard that she would be returning to another role of that nature for J Blakeman’s I Care a Lot, I was excited to see how far the film would go with the concept.

It does not take long to get into the film as the opening sets up our leading characters’ motives and the direction that the story is going to take. This is so efficiently set-up by Blakeman as it becomes hard not to engage with this narrative. Having our two leading characters Marla and Fran (played by Pike and González) immediately showing their true colours and yet having them take control of the narrative leaves the viewer conflicted, making us unsure whether we should be wanting them to pull off their schemes or not.

It is so easy to look at this film and purely focus on the genius casting of Rosamund Pike, but the rest of the cast deserves credit too. Eiza González has taken on some great films in the past, but it has felt like she has never had a real chance to shine. Here, she is given a lot to work with and I hope people are able to see what she is truly capable of. I also adore the casting of Peter Dinklage, who isn’t afraid to take on bolder films and have fun with his roles, something he is given free rein to do here.

There is a lot that could go wrong with a script like this. I was worried that there would be heavy comparisons to the likes of Gone Girl and that the film would fall into the same hurdles with the screenplay. However, Blakeson creates a film that is not only captivating narratively but impactful throughout the entire runtime. A story like this can sometimes falter near the end to tie things up and create a solid conclusion, but I was engaged throughout and the film only grows in strength by the end.

Despite how outlandish the story itself is, the film is quite believable in what it is trying to sell. The court case sequences help sell the idea of Marla’s role and how she is able to pull off her schemes. The story is grounded with a surprising amount of heart and emotion, particularly with the relationship between Fran and Marla driving the narrative forward. This would have been a fun flick to pop on if it was as simple as presented, but the added weight makes it a strong film overall.

If there was something I wish the film gave us, I would have loved more development of the relationship between Dinklage’s character, Roman Lunyov, and the patient Jennifer Peterson (played wonderfully by Dianne Wiest). Whilst it is easy on the surface to understand why he cares to protect her, the film could have spent a little more time further developing the relationship, creating an even more compelling case to actually side with who is the antagonist of the film and further complicating our relationship with our leading characters.

Whether you are a fan of Gone Girl or not, there is something here for everyone as J Blakeson gives us one of the most thrilling scripts of the year. With some incredible performances, an engaging and challenging story to follow and entertainment from start to finish, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I Care a Lot is available to watch on Amazon Prime UK on the 19th of February.

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