Award-winning performance found in a flawed film

Written By: Nina Benich, Staff WRiter

This year’s Golden Globes Awards recognized multiple well-deserved movies, and among them was Netflix’s latest original film, I Care A Lot  — a fast-paced comedy-thriller starring Rosamund Pike. 

The film’s main character is Marla Grayson, a professional guardian doubling as a con artist who declares elderly clients physically and mentally incompetent, ultimately stealing both their assets and their freedom. Appearing at first as a perfect job, she quickly realizes that she has bitten off more than she can chew.

Pike reflects on her Gone Girl days by portraying a psychopathic feminist, and she’s skilled in doing so. Although her character is positioned as the protagonist, she comes across as someone nobody would dare root for, despite the film’s attempt to dress her up as a “girlboss.” 

Her business partner and girlfriend Fran, played by Eiza González, is the only source of emotional depth we see from Marla throughout the film. The only exception is the occasional power-hungry rant triggered by a threat to Marla’s job, and on occasion, her life. 

The film is about the wealthy taking advantage of the poor, and Marla delivers dialogue capitalizing upon this theme at both the film’s opening and its conclusion. 

“Playing fair is a joke invented by rich people to keep the rest of us poor,” she claims, and proceeds to defraud her own belief system, as a rich person stealing from the vulnerable. This monologue both sets the tone of the story and proves to be ironic by the story’s conclusion. 

Peter Dinklage plays Roman Lunyov, a powerful man and Marla’s enemy. His only source of emotional depth is Marla’s latest victim, his elderly mother.

Lunyov reaffirms a puzzling part of this story: no one is in the right, therefore there’s no one to cheer on. Rather than a single protagonist and antagonist, the film only contains antagonists. 

The film is displayed in a brightly-colored atmosphere amid a synth-pop score, elements that contrast the constant evildoings observed on screen. 

Although Pike took home a Golden Globe for her performance, it doesn’t overshadow the film’s fatal flaw: it’s another example of Netflix’s catering to feminist audiences, and one that misses the mark. 

Characters possess the motivation to fight for their power, but the audience is left with no concrete reason to root for any of them. The women of the story are independent and strong-willed but only for inherently evil reasons, which Marla claims is the only way to claim victory over her oppressors.

Although it’s fun to watch, the film’s potential is lost. It lacks a lasting message that could provoke conversations among its viewers about its themes: power, independence or the price of wealth. Its redeeming factor, if any, is the fast-paced action and suspense that builds to the end. 

I Care a Lot is an entertaining game of cat and mouse that can serve as a casual viewing for a lazy afternoon. However, if you’re looking for a film that will leave you with something to think about, you won’t actually care a lot.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia