I Care a Lot

I Care a Lot ★★★★

Neatly orchestrating an absurdly immoral money-making machine, Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) beguiles the legal system to assign her guardianship over older adults who—according to the medical specialists she systematically bribes—aren’t capable of taking care of themselves. After placing them in a specialised living facility, she’s allowed to sell their properties and belongings while also elevating herself as a compassionate altruist. She coordinates her business with her lover Fran (Eiza González) and, when needed, with the facility’s manager, Sam (Damian Young). Everything’s a piece of cake until she attempts to scam the wrong client.

(Unfortunately, there are spoilers ahead.)

Let's call Marla a radical feminist, that is, a woman defending genuine feminist morals while hiding her misandry. On the surface, she’s the Usain Bolt of compassion, but actually, she wants the Benjamin Franklins. She goes to court after she’s done something wrong, and all the judge hears is how much she cares about people. She meets the public (i.e. the “dangerously ill” elders) and assures them everything’s for their own good, but if they don’t comply, she threatens them with the police being around the corner (literally). These examples make Marla Grayson uncompassionate, anti-libertarian and hence, authoritarian.

She’s a conglomerate of contradiction which she gets away with. Because she’s a “feminist”, she can’t let a man beat her at any game. That’s why she doesn’t consider the purple-tied lawyer’s bribe; she sees how much he’s willing to offer and then tells him she has a legal duty to protect the "poor old lady". She learns how much her client’s worth and goes straight to her compassionate shell. When the bad guy threatens to kill her mother, she says she doesn’t care about that sociopath (so she doesn’t care about herself too?). And when she thinks she’s defeated the evil man, i.e., the allegory for the patriarchy she’s been fighting her whole life, the man invites her to conquer the world together – “not just a company, a corporation with 80 different companies, all registered offshore, charging each other invoices and burying profit”. The historical white male “colonialism”—in this case, the evil capitalism constructing labyrinthine financial schemes—engulfs her thoroughly, and her surface compassion-driven defences gradually rip into smithereens as she becomes more prosperous. Hence, she doesn’t really hate men. She detests the concept of men being rich and powerful while she isn't. But as long as she’s also rich and powerful, evil men don’t exist. Well, too bad, Marla. You might’ve become thoroughly presumptuous, but the regular people still remember your lies. That’s why you’ll die. And that’s bad for business.

Martin liked this review