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#TIFF20 Review: I Care a Lot (Gala Presentations)

September 13, 2020

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The lead character in the pitch black crime comedy I Care a Lot is Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), a sociopathic caregiver who makes her money off the backs of seniors who have legally become wards of the state. Marla works as a court-appointed guardian, and she has found a way to enrich herself by bleeding dry the seniors in her care, selling off their assets and giving herself a generous salary to look after them in a long term care home that she also owns stocks in.

Marla runs this immoral racket with her business and life partner Fran (Eiza González), and it seems like they have struck gold when they find Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), an older lady with no family and a fortune ripe for the taking. Marla convinces a complicit judge (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) to put Jennifer under her care, but all is not as it seems. It becomes apparent to Marla that she has met her match in the feisty Jennifer, and she gets what she has coming to her when a local crime boss (Peter Dinklage) sets his sights on her.

Directed by J Blakeson, I Care a Lot is an entertaining dark comedy that delivers a lot of twists and turns. Blakeson, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, draws upon the real life injustices of the court-appointed guardianship system and how it is ripe for abuse, to craft a fast-moving caper that goes in some unexpected directions. As we already know from her Oscar-nominated work in Gone Girl, Pike excels at playing ice cold sociopaths who think nothing of manipulating those around them in order to get ahead. It’s also fun to see Dinklage taking on the role of a ruthless crime lord.

Some audiences may like Marla, but that would be missing the point. She is a sadistic, unscrupulous con artist taking advantage of the elderly for her own personal gain. The film falters slightly in the last act when it tries to turn Marla into something of a sympathetic antihero, but it builds towards a surprising finale that ties up some loose ends in a satisfying way. Moving at a quick clip despite running for nearly two hours, I Care a Lot held my attention and emerges as somewhat of a surprise hit of the festival.

Eiza González, Dianne Wiest and Rosamund Pike in I Care a Lot

Public Screenings:

Saturday, September 12th – 9:30 PM at RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place

Sunday, September 13th – 6:00 PM at Bell Digital Cinema (Online for 24 Hours)

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