I Care a Lot
Described as a satirical comedy thriller, I Care a Lot does roughly what it says on the tin: viewers laugh, they gasp, they get a thrill. The plot follows Marla Gray, a merciless entrepreneur who exploits the elderly by forcing them into care homes and making herself their legal guardian. Director and screenwriter J Blakeson milks the tricks of the trade in some great suspense and action sequences, but the film leans heavily on stereotypes. I Care a Lot is a great watch for a night in with some beers and snacks, but as a satire, it could use some extra bite.
Blakeson’s strength lies in the casting and cinematography of his movie. The four leading actors are fantastic: Rosamund Pike kills as the stone-cold antihero Marla Gray, as does Eiza González as her ruthless business partner and girlfriend. Multi-award-winning Dianne Wiest, as the elderly Jennifer Peterson, injects leagues of meaning each time she glares, and Peter Dinklage sits comfortably in his somewhat typecast role as the mafia boss. Throughout the film (as the cast fight, shoot, drug, kidnap and asphyxiate each other) viewers are drawn in with a tension that keeps them on their toes.
Nonetheless, the writing is reliant on well-worn tropes, and the characters are predictable. Wiest has an unusual and interesting role in Jennifer, and yet the screenplay gives her relatively little to do and say. The same goes for Eiza González as Fran – the character is refreshingly combative and business-minded, and yet ends up as a damsel in distress. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this film is the gay stereotypes: Marla and Fran are never acknowledged as romantic partners, and the narrative seems to subscribe to the “hide your lesbians” trope, along with other more problematic patterns in that vein. It is a shame to reduce such refreshingly strong and complex characters to unnecessary stereotypes.
I Care a Lot is a recommended watch for a lighthearted bit of suspense that will keep its audience gripped until the end – but for a less stereotypical lesbian action thriller, check out Bound by the Wachowski sisters.
I Care a Lot is released digitally on demand on 19th February 2021.
Watch the trailer for I Care a Lot here: