I Care A Lot

Marla cares a lot. SO much, or anyway that’s what she tells the judge. This poor little old lady can’t care for herself and her son’s unfit, so Marla (Rosamund Pike) will step in and be her court-appointed guardian, for a fair fee of course. This is how she makes her lavish living, by “caring” for old people she’s cherry-picked for being old but not too old, in relative good health so she can bilk them for a good, long time, with a sizable nest egg and not too many prying family members around to question her judgment. She colludes with doctors to identify these victims, and with care home directors where she’ll stash them while she sells their houses and all their worldly possessions. Many of these older people are of sound mind and body before Marla gets to them, but not for long. Kept restrained, drugged, isolated, and barely fed, Marla’s aged victims will soon appear to be as far gone as she’s claimed. Marla’s about to meet her match.

Jennifer (Dianne Wiest) seems like a perfect target – a retiree with bountiful assets and no known family. But Jennifer isn’t who she seems, as you may have guessed, and Marla’s in for a whole world of trouble. But Marla isn’t just a crook, she’s a tenacious crook, an entitled crook, and she won’t go down without a fight. And oh what a fight!

This movie starts off shocking you with the ugliness and abuse in the system, the vulnerability of the aged, the potential for corruption, but then good old fashioned greed inspires this story to spin wildly off the rails. It’s an entertaining if not particularly realistic watch. Rosamund Pike gives a committed performance, though it may remind you of her turn in Gone Girl where she also played a harmless looking blonde woman whose innocent smile hid her true nature. Marla is a ruthless conwoman. Director J Blakeson does villainy well, he makes it slick, he makes it glossy, and he makes us complicit.  

I liked but didn’t love I Care A Lot; the script could have used a little more of that care, and the second half doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the first. The set-up is amazing but Blakeson doesn’t quite excel at this whole dark-comedy-satire-cum-wacky-violent-thriller thing. It’s a delicate balance, something the Coens have perfected but few others can truly pull off. Blakeson doesn’t quite have the courage to maintain his carefully crafted cynicism right up to the last scene. He flinches. I Care A Lot is still worthy of your attention, but I bet you’ll be able to spot both its flaws and its fun.

19 thoughts on “I Care A Lot

    1. Willow Croft

      I hear that, especially when doctors here dismissed a serious condition I had as a “floater” not to mention the doctors dismissing signs previously that led up to said eye condition. And, being in Kansas, I’m back in that limbo where I don’t qualify for Obamacare, I can’t afford health insurance, and I don’t qualify for Medicaid here. Fun times!

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Daedalus Lex

        Sorry to hear about your difficulties. I spent two years in Germany recently — the only two years of my adult life when I never heard one person say, “I don’t know how I’m going to pay for med service x” or “I’m arguing with my insurance company again.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Willow Croft

        Ha, yeah. If you’re gonna live in the states, live in New Mexico. Quality of health care is still a little problematic but it’s better than other places in the U.S. that I’ve lived, and at least having Medicaid there (being poor) made things better.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Henry Chamberlain

        Wow, I have a floater problem myself to deal with and I’m not sure who to trust, just like you. I’m going to see more than one person on this. I guess you have to be willing to use common sense, pay out of pocket, whatever it takes.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Jay Post author

        That is pure craziness.
        I cannot understand how your country doesn’t have socialized health care.
        It’s not a matter of taxes – the US government spends more per capita on health care than Canada, and we get free health care out of it!

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  1. Spoilt Victorian Child

    Kind of a well- worn trope, isn’t it? The glam conwoman/psychopath? To Die For with Nicole Kidman springs to mind, and countless film noir vixens…

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. J.

    The Guardian done a piece on this and the whole guardianship racket. I was half tempted to watch it last night, but opted for Skull Island (Iā€™m a sucker for a big actioner with giant monsters).

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  3. theuphillslide

    I read an article a year or so ago about the business of guardianship. I was unbelieving that this had happened even to people who had family. You’re living happily and next thing you know you’ve got nothing left stuck in a mediocre nursing home. The old lady better show the villain she’s not dead yet.

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  4. Henry Chamberlain

    Watching Dianne Wiest get into that car was very scary! It let us know, I hope, that this was more of a fable than realistic, but still! This wasn’t quite up to Coen Bros. standards but it was a lot of fun.

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