I Care a Lot

I Care a Lot is a 2020 American satirical black comedy thriller film written and directed by J Blakeson. The film stars Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, Macon Blair, Alicia Witt, and Damian Young, with Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Dianne Wiest. The film follows a con woman who makes a living as a court-appointed guardian, seizing the assets of vulnerable elderly people, including the mother of a dangerous gangster.

I Care a Lot
I Care A Lot poster.jpg
Official release poster
Directed byJ Blakeson
Written byJ Blakeson
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyDoug Emmett
Edited byMark Eckersley
Music byMarc Canham
Production
companies
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • September 12, 2020 (2020-09-12) (TIFF)
  • February 19, 2021 (2021-02-19) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1.3 million[2][3]

I Care a Lot had its world premiere at the 45th Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2020, and was released via streaming on February 19, 2021, through Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, depending on the region. The film received positive reviews from critics, with Pike winning Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical at the 78th Golden Globe Awards.[4]

PlotEdit

Marla Grayson is a con artist who makes a living by convincing the legal system to grant her guardianship over elders that she pretends cannot take care of themselves. She places them in an assisted living facility, where they are sedated and lose contact with the outside world. She sells off their homes and assets, pocketing the proceeds. She and the court deny a man, Mr. Feldstrom, access to his mother after he attempts to force his way in to the assisted living facility. He later threatens her outside the courthouse, saying that he hopes she is killed.

Dr. Karen Amos informs Marla about a potential case, a wealthy retiree with no apparent partner or close family named Jennifer Peterson. A judge appoints Marla guardian after she and Dr. Amos falsely testify that Jennifer suffers from dementia, confusion and loss of mobility. Marla moves Jennifer into assisted living and immediately gets to work selling Jennifer's furniture, car and home. While rooting through Jennifer's possessions, Marla discovers the key to a safe deposit box, and finds that it contains a watch, gold bars, bank notes, and hidden, loose diamonds, which she takes and stashes away.

As Marla's girlfriend and business partner, Fran, helps paint and renovate the house, a cab arrives driven by Alexi Ignatyev, who says he is there for a regular pick up of Jennifer. Fran says that Jennifer has moved. Alexi returns to his employer, Roman Lunyov, greatly distressed. Roman, a crime lord, is revealed to be Jennifer's son. He threatens Alexi and orders him to find his mother and report back. Mafia lawyer Dean Ericson offers to pay Marla $150,000 in cash to release Jennifer but she refuses, willing to do it only if she is paid $5 million. He threatens Marla and takes her to court. The judge dismisses the case as Ericson cannot prove Jennifer hired him.

Fran discovers "Jennifer Peterson" is an identity stolen from an infant who died of polio. When Jennifer refuses to tell Marla her real identity, Marla teams up with property manager Sam Rice and withdraws filling many of Jennifer’s basic needs. Finding his mother's safe deposit box rifled, Roman sends three thugs to Jennifer's facility to take her. This violent effort fails, and Marla helps police apprehend Alexi, who is one of the men. Fran's police contact tells them that Alexi is the sibling of two other mafia bosses who supposedly died in a fire. Having failed to rescue his mother, Roman has Dr. Amos killed at her office. After hearing this news, Marla and Fran move into an unsold property of a previous victim. Jennifer attacks Marla when she visits the facility and is moved to a psychiatric ward.

Marla is kidnapped while Fran is attacked in their home. Marla is taken to Roman, where she demands $10 million to arrange Jennifer's release. He refuses, and his associates knock her out with chloroform and send her in a car into a lake. She escapes and returns home to find Fran beaten unconscious as gas fills the house. They narrowly escape an explosion and flee to another unsold property. Marla shows Fran the diamonds she has hidden there. She offers Fran a choice: they can use the diamonds to start a new life elsewhere, or they can get revenge.

Marla and Fran track down Roman and kidnap him. They force drugs into his body, burn his car, and leave him on a forest trail. He will be discovered high on drugs and with no identification. Roman is discovered by a jogger, and is rescued. With no identity, Roman is designated a "John Doe" by a judge, who appoints Marla as Roman's legal guardian. Marla visits Roman and offers to release him and Jennifer from her guardianship for $10 million.

Instead, Roman offers her a partnership in a global business based on her scam. She accepts and, using his money and connections, quickly becomes a powerful, extremely wealthy CEO. Roman is reunited with Jennifer, while Marla marries Fran.

While leaving a TV interview, Marla is shot by Feldstrom. He says that his mother died alone in the assisted living facility because no one would let him see her. As Feldstrom is arrested, Fran cries out for help and Marla dies in her arms.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

It was announced in May 2019 that Rosamund Pike had been cast to star in the film, which would be written and directed by J Blakeson.[5] Peter Dinklage and Eiza González were added in June.[6][7] In July 2019, Chris Messina and Dianne Wiest joined the cast,[8] and filming began the same month.[9][10] Scenes were shot in Dedham, Massachusetts,[11] including at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds.[12]

ReleaseEdit

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2020.[13] Shortly after, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the film in select countries and regions, including the United States, France, Germany, Latin America, South Africa, the Middle East, and India.[14] Amazon Studios acquired the rights to release it on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom through Black Bear's international distributor STX.[15] It was released on both services on February 19, 2021.[16][15] Over its first weekend of release, the film was the most-watched on Netflix, then second-most in its sophomore frame.[17][18] On April 20, 2021, Netflix revealed that the film had been watched by 56 million households.[19][20]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 226 critics' reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "A searing swipe at late-stage capitalism, I Care a Lot is an exhilarating, pitch-black comedy with a wicked performance from Rosamund Pike." However, in stark contrast to critics, audiences only rated it at 34% with 2500+ reviews.[21] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on reviews from 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[22]

Owen Glieberman, writing for Variety, praised writer and director J Blakeson, whom he compared to Alfred Hitchcock, stating that "when he finally gets around to staging an action sequence, it's a doozy [...] because he takes his time and has you hanging on every moment".[23] For Empire, Terri White wrote that Blakeson "doesn't always remain in full control of the story and tone, [but] the ride is so wild and entertaining that it doesn't particularly matter", and gave the film four stars out of five.[24] Kate Erbland from IndieWire gave I Care a Lot a "B−" and said that "Blakeson's script piles on the complications fast and furious [...] but at least they keep his growing cadre of characters on their toes."[25] Slant Magazine's Chuck Bowen gave the film two stars and a half out of four, and wrote that "Blakeson means for us to champion Marla as a feminist icon for a while, though he deflates this potential moral idiocy with an ironic ending."[26]

Various critics praised Pike for her performance as con artist Marla Grayson. While the Associated Press said "Pike pulls something off that few else could as a protagonist,"[27] Entertainment Weekly wrote that she delivered her best performance as a villain since Gone Girl in 2014.[28] Noel Murray from The A.V. Club, who gave the film a "B+", also said that "Pike is an absolute delight as Marla".[29] Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter said "Pike brings crisp efficiency and dead-eyed amorality to a legal conservator", and ABC News journalist Peter Travers wrote that "Pike makes a feast of the role".[30][31]

Writing for Out, Mey Rude said that I Care a Lot was "almost a perfect lesbian movie", praising the "sinister glee" Pike brings to what "could've been an all-time great lesbian sex symbol" role and the "great chemistry" that she and Gonzalez have as the story "keeps escalating and twisting and turning". However, she strongly criticised the "undignified and blunt" ending.[32] The New York Times said that the film was an "unexpectedly gripping thriller that seesaws between comedy and horror", praising it for being "cleverly written and wonderfully cast", and for its "ice-pick dialogue" and introduction of Peter Dinklage as Roman Lunyov. Jeannette Catsoulis wrote that "an overlong, somewhat mushy middle section made me fear Blakeson was losing his nerve. I was wrong."[33]

Conversely, Adam Graham of The Detroit News gave the film a "D" and said that I Care a Lot was a "misguided black comedy", as viewers didn't have a way to relate to the character of Marla Grayson.[34] The Chicago Tribune 's, Michael Phillips gave the film two stars and wrote that while "the acting's uniformly strong [...] the script is distressingly weak."[35] Mae Abdulbaki from Screen Rant gave a mixed review, lauding the performances from the ensemble cast, but writing that "there is something completely missing from I Care a Lot that makes it a hard pill to swallow."[36] Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com wrote that along with Pieces of a Woman (2020), it was "another film that struggles with tone", and that Rosamund Pike was "clearly a tempting choice [...] but she and Blakeson never figured this character out."[37]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "I Care a Lot". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "I Care a Lot - Financial Information". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  3. ^ "I Care a Lot (2021)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  4. ^ Perez, Lexy (February 28, 2021). "Golden Globes: Rosamund Pike Thanks "America's Broken Legal System" After Best Actress Win". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  5. ^ Hipes, Patrick (May 9, 2019). "Rosamund Pike Pic 'I Care a Lot' Picked Up By STXinternational – Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  6. ^ Hipes, Patrick (June 6, 2019). "Peter Dinklage In Talks To Star With Rosamund Pike In 'I Care a Lot'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 8, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  7. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (June 18, 2019). "Eiza Gonzalez Joins Thriller 'I Care a Lot' With Rosamund Pike & Peter Dinklage – CineEurope". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 9, 2019). "Chris Messina Joins Rosamund Pike in 'I Care a Lot' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Kay, Jeremy (May 9, 2019). "Rosmaund Pike to star in Cannes-bound thriller 'I Care a Lot'". Screen Daily. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  10. ^ "Hollywood can't stay out of Wellesley — "I Care a Lot" movie filming in town". TheWellesleyReport. July 9, 2019. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  11. ^ ""I Care a Lot" being filmed in Dedham". The Dedham Times. Vol. 27, no. 33. August 16, 2019. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  12. ^ O'Donnell, William P. (February 6, 2020). "Hollywood Comes To The Norfolk Registry of Deeds". Patch. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  13. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (July 30, 2020). "Toronto Sets 2020 Lineup: Werner Herzog, Regina King, Mira Nair, Francois Ozon, Naomi Kawase Titles Join Hybrid Edition". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 30, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (September 25, 2020). "Netflix Lands Fourth Big Toronto Film Festival Market Title with 'I Care a Lot' Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Lang, Jamie (January 15, 2021). "WarnerMedia Latin America Shakes Up Leadership Teams Following Turner, HBO GE Integration – Global Bulletin". Variety. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  16. ^ Huff, Lauren (December 4, 2020). "Rosamund Pike on playing a shameless schemer in I Care a Lot: 'I wasn't trying to win any admirers'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (February 23, 2021). "'Monster Hunter' and 'Greenland' Lead VOD Charts, While 'Croods 2' Remains Unstoppable". IndieWire. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  18. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (March 1, 2021). "Streaming Movies Ruled by 'Croods 2,' HBO Max's 'Tom & Jerry,' and Netflix's 'Bigfoot Family'". IndieWire. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  19. ^ Low, Elaine (2021-04-20). "Netflix Reveals $17 Billion in Content Spending in Fiscal 2021". Variety. Retrieved 2021-05-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Porter, Rick; McClintock, Pamela (2021-04-20). "'Lupin' Snatches Top Netflix Viewing Spot in First Quarter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-05-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "I Care a Lot (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 17, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "I Care a Lot Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  23. ^ Glieberman, Owen (September 15, 2020). "'I Care a Lot' Review: Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage Are Riveting in a Scam-Artist Thriller That Won't Let Go". Variety. Archived from the original on February 5, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  24. ^ White, Terri (February 19, 2021). "I Care a Lot Review". Empire. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  25. ^ Erbland, Kate (September 12, 2020). "'I Care a Lot' Review: Rosamund Pike Returns to Her Hilariously Icy Amy Dunne Best in Pulpy Thriller". IndieWire. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  26. ^ Bowen, Chuck (September 15, 2020). "Review: I Care a Lot, Before Losing the Thread, Is a Barbed Satire of Capitalism". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on February 16, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  27. ^ Coyle, Jake (February 17, 2021). "Review: A compellingly cruel Rosamund Pike in 'I Care a Lot'". Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  28. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (February 17, 2021). "In I Care a Lot, Rosamund Pike delivers her finest villainy since Gone Girl: Review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  29. ^ Murray, Noel (February 17, 2021). "The wicked Netflix neo-noir I Care a Lot is just the right amount of wrong". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  30. ^ Rooney, David (September 12, 2020). "'I Care a Lot': Film Review | TIFF 2020". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  31. ^ Travers, Peter (February 19, 2021). "Review: 'I Care a Lot': A shockingly funny comedy that doesn't just sizzle, it stings". ABC News. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  32. ^ Mey Rude (February 22, 2021). "Netflix's 'I Care a Lot' Was Almost a Perfect Lesbian Movie". Out. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  33. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (February 18, 2021). "'I Care a Lot' Review: The Art of the Steal". New York Times. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  34. ^ Graham, Adam (February 18, 2021). "Review: Nothing to care about in 'I Care a Lot'". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  35. ^ Phillips, Michael (February 18, 2021). "'I Care a Lot' review: Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage go for the throat in Netflix fable of greed, American style". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  36. ^ Abdulbaki, Mae (February 19, 2021). "I Care a Lot Review: An Inconsistent Film With Strong Performances". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  37. ^ Tallerico, Brian (September 14, 2020). "TIFF 2020: Pieces of a Woman, I Care a Lot, Summer of '85". RogerEbert.com. Archived from the original on December 13, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2021.

External linksEdit