Movie Review: I Care a Lot

Michelle Jin, Staff Writer

3/5

Directed by J Blackson, I Care a Lot is a Netflix thriller released on Feb. 19 starring Rosamund Pike. The two-hour film is centered around her character, Marla Grayson. She appears to be a total saint at first: she has a thriving business, a way with words, and seems to care for others by working as a guardian for elderly individuals in need. But behind the scenes, Marla is actually busy abusing the system by targeting elders who don’t need her help, throwing them in care facilities and then taking control of their assets. This scam is run by both Marla and her partner, Fran. 

Marla works with a doctor who informed her of a wealthy retiree that they can exploit. Jennifer Peterson then became their new target. After doing a brief background search she seemed to have no kids, husband or family, and while she’s suffering from borderline dementia, she’s capable of living alone and taking care of herself. But to Marla and Fran, Jennifer is “like a golden goose.” After Marla moves Jennifer into assisted living she immediately starts selling Jennifer’s car and house. What the predators don’t realize is that they’ve chosen the wrong prey this time, and by kidnapping and imprisoning her, they’ve angered Jennifer’s son, Roman, who is associated with a Russian mobster.  

Blackson said that he wanted the film to serve as an example of what could happen in a world where you place too much trust in the people you already know or think you know. This is a scenario that also happens in real life.

“It’s true to life in the fact that there are lots of these predatory guardians who prey on vulnerable and elderly people,” Blackson said. “The true life stories of it are really quite harrowing and horrifying, and unfortunately it does happen.”

Marla refuses to be intimidated by threats or harm, and the film is set up as a battle of the sexes situation between the female protagonists and the male antagonist. I Care a Lot portrays that the system of guardianship/conservatorship is corrupt, but the film doesn’t spend enough time exploring exactly what this means. Instead, the film focuses more on the fight and action scenes that happen between Marla and Roman. 

The film and character designs are both visually pleasing, and colors are used boldly and incisively. The environment that surrounds the characters tells us more about the character and what kind of person they are. For example, in Marla’s office she has a wall full of the elders that she’s “taking care” of. All of the characters presented as protagonists play a role in capitalizing on abusing the elderly. Overall, I was disappointed that Marla got away with being an evil person and that the movie was a bit shallow.