‘I Care A Lot’ – the latest Netflix offering to have you screaming at the screen in frustration.
Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson, a cruel, calculated, and determined villain whose skyscraper office and expensive suits are the result of playing the system, and winning. Along with her partner, Fran (Eiza González), she has amassed a small fortune and a booming business, all by preying on the vulnerable and leveraging the laws of guardianship.
The pair seem to be in cahoots with everyone – a negligent doctor, an unscrupulous care home manager, and a dim-witted, complicit judge – all playing their part to strip unwitting elderly folk of everything they once owned, including their dignity. Grayson’s scam always seems to go off without a hitch – separate the mark from their family, throw them in a care home, and bleed their assets dry – that is, until she targets the wrong old lady. Jennifer Peterson (Diane Wiest) seems like the ideal victim – ‘a cherry’ – no family or friends to interfere, an attractive nest egg, and a big expensive house ripe for the taking.
In a quick series of very believable events that will add ‘growing old’ to your list of greatest fears, Peterson is suddenly removed from her home and made prisoner in a care facility – unable to do anything without the consent of her court-appointed guardian, Marla Grayson. Unfortunately, it seems she made a big mistake, and Peterson’s mob connections crawl out of the woodwork to carry out several rescue attempts. Wiest’s delightfully feisty old lady is definitely someone you wouldn’t want to mess with.
With the introduction of Peter Dinklage’s mafia-type role, the movie feels like it will end there and then with Grayson getting what she deserves. But it doesn’t. There are far too many near misses and convenient escapes – especially for a character you couldn’t possibly root for. Each time she foils a rescue attempt or gets out of an impossible situation, your hatred and anger towards Grayson will intensify just a little bit more.
Though fictional, ‘I Care A Lot’ sheds light on a very real-world scam in which courts allow complete strangers to take over the lives of the elderly and abuse the rules and laws of guardianship. It’s extremely difficult to believe anyone could do that and, at the same time, entirely plausible. And that’s just what will give you that sickly feeling in your stomach as you watch Marla Grayson at work.
While its fusion of comedy and thriller, along with the great cast of characters, make this a great must-watch film, there will be a part of you just wishing it will all end as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hug my Grandma.