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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kutztown chapter.

The 2021 Netflix film I Care A Lot was intended to be a hair-raising film with distinguished co-stars Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage, but leaves the audience confused and unsatisfied instead. Honestly, I still don’t completely know what message the film is trying to send. J Blakeson, director of I Care A Lot, cannot deliver the movie’s purpose due to poor decisions made during the production. The dialogue and plot were awkward at times, which threw off the fluidity. Overall, I found the film to be mediocre, considering the flawed marketing and plot holes.

I Care A Lot stars Marla Grayson, played by Rosamund Pike, a court-appointed legal guardian who tricks the elderly to steal their assets for personal profit. Her plan appears perfect; the court sides with Grayson, doctors help find new victims, and the money is great. Everything seems to be running smoothly for Grayson and her business partner/girlfriend, Fran. However, when they decide to go after Jennifer Peterson everything begins to turn south. At first unknown to Grayson, Mrs. Peterson has ties to Roman Lunyov, a crime lord played by Peter Dinklage, determined to do whatever it takes to rescue her. Undoubtedly, Marla Grayson has gotten in well over her head, but she’s still determined to come out the winner.

Part of my disappointment with I Care A Lot comes from the incorrect marketing of this film. Netflix classifies this movie into the thriller and dark comedy genres, yet I found no humorous aspects. The plot and dialogue are serious and sinister, not meant to provoke laughter to form the audience. The only aspect of the film that hints towards the comedy genre is when Roman eats donuts during serious conversations, which consequently throws the other person off. J Blakeson tries to juxtapose Roman’s hardened personality to his love for donuts, but it seems out of place in the context of the entire film. The donuts are out of his character and don’t flow naturally with the rest of the film. But besides this one attempt, I didn’t perceive anything else as comedic. I don’t find scamming the elderly to be funny, and I think labeling I Care A Lot as a dark comedy can seem insensitive. If the film were marketed as just a suspense thriller, I believe it would be more appealing to an audience.

I Care A Lot attempts to paint Marla Grayson as an anti-hero and her network of women working to scam the elderly as a form of “girl power”. We’re supposed to sympathize with Grayson because a group of dangerous men are terrorizing her and Fran, but it was her fault to start. Marla Grayson is a snake, and nothing can justify her gross abuse of the elderly. I sided with Roman throughout the film for wanting Mrs. Peterson back, despite his threats of violence. His animosity toward her is justified and valid. Simply, Grayson is unlikeable and it’s insulting to envision her as a victim. All of her actions are premeditated, and the audience repeatedly sees her with no remorse. As an example, the wall of photographs Grayson has appears more as a serial killer looking at her victim board instead of a caring guardian identifying patients. Marla Grayson is way over her head with Roman Lunyov, yet doesn’t let down or show fear. Her reactions are too minimal for the situation at hand and consequently illustrate her as immature.

I believe Peter Dinklage is a phenomenal actor, but the role of Roman didn’t do him justice. Essentially he’s reduced down to a crime lord with anger issues instead of being allowed to feel a range of emotions upon learning of Mrs. Peterson’s kidnapping. Dinklage’s character was written to be reactive to Marla Grayson and has no depth of his own. There’s tension when Roman is in a scene because he has unpredictable outbursts. Yes, he is mad at Marla Grayson for scamming Mrs. Peterson, but his reactions are unrealistic. Ideally, Roman would have a wider spectrum of emotions to make the plot more compelling and make the audience more invested. I sympathize with Roman, but it is difficult to enjoy him as a person.

In all, I Care A Lot’s improper execution is disappointing. The audience has unrealistic expectations because it is marketed as a comedic thriller. Viewing this movie as a comedy is insulting, since taking advantage of the elderly is a serious issue. The attempts at comedy are embarrassing, not funny. Despite Peter Dinklage’s stellar acting skills, the role of Roman Lunyov doesn’t let him shine to his full potential. Instead, he is limited to a flat character that is only capable of anger. Marla Grayson takes most of the film’s spotlight, yet it’s difficult for the audience to prefer her to Roman. Rosamund Pike is fantastic at playing an evil, conniving woman, but Marla Grayson can’t be viewed positively by the audience. She’s too damning, and her anti-hero status doesn’t work in this context. Frankly, if you’re browsing Netflix for a movie to watch, save your time and don’t watch I Care A Lot.

Sydney Weiland

Kutztown '21

Currently, I'm a senior at Kutztown University majoring in English with minors in professional writing, social media theory & strategy, and music and a writing intern with HerCampus. Outside of classes, I love to play my oboe, go thrifting, and cook.
Jena Fowler

Kutztown '21

Music lover, writer, avid Taylor Swift connoisseur