Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Movie Review: I Care A Lot

So, what to make of “I Care A Lot?” What indeed. I wasn’t sure who to root for from the trailer. And honestly I still wasn’t sure who to root for after watching the movie. Like on the one side there’s the woman whose entire business model it is to kidnap senior citizens, strip them of their autonomy, destroy their free will, drain their bank accounts and leave them to rot in old people homes and on the other side there’s a mafia drug kingpin. But at least the woman is gay and has a hot haircut?

The best thing about “I Care A Lot” is, obviously Rosamund Pike. Don’t get me wrong, her chain-vaping, grandma-bilking, razor-sharp bob wearing character is a true movie monster. But, no one said monster movies couldn’t be fun. And for a while, “I Care A Lot” is pretty fun. Once you realize there is essentially no one to truly root for, you give up on the moral underpinnings and just settle in to embrace the twisty-turny caper nature of it all.

As for the gay stuff, obviously I appreciate the representation. Though while my guess is the filmmakers were going for more of a “Bound” kind of queer lady couple, I fear it veered a little too close for comfort to the “Basic Instinct” kind of queer lady couple instead. Sexy. Immoral. And, um another plot point we shall discuss later. I thought Rosamund’s Marla and Eiza González’s Fran are a perfectly passable as a couple, and I appreciate their physicality. But, they haven’t drawn in the details of their characters much past hot, felonious and unremorseful grifters who are hot together.

The first two-third of the movie are probably as fun and relatively light as the depiction of a horrifying elder abuse scam can be. But then, just when you think the movie might pull the trigger and end in the only truly radically way a movie about truly unethical people can end, it veered toward an unsatisfactory semi-morality tale after all.

[Spoilers if you haven’t watched the latest episode]

Now back to that other plot point that remained unmentioned. Yes, the dreaded Dead Lesbian Trope. Yeah, they really went there and Buried Their Gay. I know the film was going for the irony of it all. But it means something that the only character the filmakers chose to receive the ultimate punishment (well, beside those countless, nameless old folks) was the lead female character who also happened to be queer. And, um, things also went pretty poorly for the presumably straight female doctor. Do I sense a trend? The narrative choices here are cruel and umconfortable.

[End Spoilers]

In the end, if you can pause your empathy for two hours and look at is as just a crime caper about bad guys where you appreciate the game and not the outcome, it’s OK. And, again, there are some wicked and wickedly entertaining bits, to be sure. But if you turn your humanity back on and pay close attention, it’s got a nastiness underneath that keeps it from being totally wicked fun.


Carmen San Diego said...

I hadn’t considered the doctor, thank you for bringing this to my attention
But Yeah, the fact that Peter Dinklage’s character is left untouched and even richer by the end rubbed me the wrong way

Anonymous said...

Normally I would be livid about the women being murdered but they were both such sh*tty people. The doctor knowingly steered perfectly healthy elderly people to ruin and Marla was so defiantly, smuggly and narcisstically into the con that I actively rooted for her to die.

Anonymous said...

‘As for the gay stuff, obviously I appreciate the representation.’

Is it obvious? Still? In 2021? Appreciating shit underwritten vile characters solely because they are gay? Hmm...