Netflix’s Dark Comedy ‘I Care a Lot’ Misses the Mark

Photo Credit/YouTube

Angelisse Alvarez

Contributing Writer

The Netflix dark comedy, “I Care a Lot,” has garnered a wide scope of think pieces since its release on February 19.

The film stars Rosamund Pike as Marla Grayson, a court-appointed guardian who targets the elderly alongside fellow healthcare scammers. Her girlfriend Fran, played by Eliza González, is also her business partner in cahoots.

In court, Marla declares handpicked seniors as unable to care for themselves and are thus in desperate need of her care. Eventually, she bleeds them dry of all money and possessions.

After reading several interviews from director J. Blakeson, one intention of the film was to expose viewers to the exploitation of elders in healthcare in a way that was digestible through comedy.

I don’t think Blakeson succeeded, although the movie is fun.

Jennifer Peterson, one of Marla’s victims played by Dianne Wiest, is particularly relatable to the audience, as her character serves as a reminder of elders who have been manipulated into a life with no autonomy. Despite this heartbreaking aspect, the role provides amusement as well.

Her character poses an unexpected challenge to Marla, which made me laugh. The comedy eventually meets thriller as it progresses–mafia run-ins, near death experiences, and wild twists.

One basic summarization of “I Care a Lot” is that it’s a bunch of unpleasant people running around acting horribly and dumb. The mafia in this movie, featuring Peter Dinklage as mob boss Roman Lunyov, is comedically incompetent.  

The lack of decent people in the film is pretty funny and not necessarily a gripe of mine, although whether it makes for good storytelling is debatable. I can’t say the movie is objectively good.

The characters aren’t fully fleshed-out and lack intrigue. I absolutely adore ruthless villains, but everyone here is goofy and flat. There isn’t much depth to them beyond their overt qualities and personalities.

To me, a movie is more gripping if I am interested in following the characters; however, I didn’t actually care what happened in this movie.

I can’t tell if some of the dumb events that take place here are self-aware (as it is a comedy) or not. I watched it with friends online together and we laughed at some of the random moments.

The film attempts to address varying and overlapping social issues.

Marla is a textbook archetype of the capitalist oriented white feminist, someone we see in many politicians and multimillionaire CEOs who, under the guise of women empowerment, ruin and oppress the lives of vulnerable groups while climbing the ladder–the film is aware of this.  

Marla often reiterates she isn’t intimidated by men. Men threaten her throughout the film, and she is completely unbothered. Her monologues lean toward a similar sentiment. All the while she weaponizes her whiteness to get what she wants.

Race isn’t brought up, but its role in how Marla navigates her predatory business and corporate America is undeniable and obvious.

This is where criticism of the film lies. Some believe the narrative intends to positively represent women empowerment, which is considered dangerously ironic and tone deaf when utilizing characters that embody the above characteristics.

I don’t think that’s the purpose of the film, but it gets blurred. It’s tricky to determine what the film’s objectives are exactly.

There was some attempt to bring attention to the oppressive nature of white feminism and its lack of inclusivity, but the film doesn’t commit to that in a meaningful way.

Some could argue that the ending suggests where the film’s intentions lean, but the ending is actually a lot to unpack and could warrant an entirely new article. Similarly, I don’t think the film works as a strong commentary on elder abuse in healthcare.

While it communicates the cruelty of these exploitative practices, the film doesn’t commit to any of its several implications. The dialogue lacks significant commentary that could probe viewers to think more deeply about the issues the film points to at bare minimum.  

“I Care a Lot” was just okay to me. Again, it’s fun. Reading how other people took the film has been interesting. But I don’t think it’s a must-watch.

Email Angelisse at:

aalvarez4@live.esu.edu

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