“I Care A Lot” and you should too

Netflix draws attention to the corrupted guardianship system

Netflixs movie draws attention to the ways guardians can exploit their wards.

Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s movie draws attention to the ways guardians can exploit their wards.

Jenna Reynolds, Features Editor and Co-anchor

With the record cold and the inches upon inches of snow lately, staying inside is a more suitable option than leaving the house. With no desire to leave the warmth of my bed, I was struck with boredom. As always, Netflix has the cure. Their “Top 10 in the U.S. Today” makes finding worthwhile films and series far easier. In the number one spot recently is the dark comedy “I Care A Lot,” which was released in September 2020 but is now gaining more attention. 

The crime infused movie follows Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), the owner of a guardianship company which exploits the elderly to the benefit of the company. Marla and her wife Fran (Eiza González) search for the perfect “cherries” (elderly people with no stems or ties to family and who have a lot of money). They bribe the doctors to declare these elderly “cherries” as unable to take care of themselves independently anymore and move them into a care facility and the new legal guardian takes all of the person’s assets. Marla and Fran find the perfect “cherry,” Jennifer Peterson (Diane Wiest). Little do they know, Jennifer has hidden ties and relatives which become dangerous opponents for the pair of guardianship schemers. 

Many movies have a hero or a clear good versus bad side. This movie crushed that trope as morals were thrown out the window. Each side had a nefarious scheme to accomplish and backed up their efforts with amoral actions. Taking advantage of the elderly by deceiving a judge into believing the man/woman is incapable of taking care of themself is certainly one of those vile actions. Neither side had any sense of “good” in them; their actions were only self-serving. 

I’ve read and watched many entertaining books and movies with a prolonged beginning which leaves a viewer or reader anxious for something interesting to happen; “I Care A Lot,” however, grips the viewer five minutes in as opposed to  30. Right away, the plot picks up and begins to unfold and then takes another gripping twist further in. Scenes of escaping a car engulfed by water and an exploding house packed enough action without becoming redundant. I worked out while I watched and I often became glued to the screen holding my breath as new events unfolded, forgetting about my crunches altogether. 

When it came to the characters, I didn’t make any emotional ties with them. I found myself actively rooting against the main characters Marla and Fran. My blood boiled watching them auction off Jennifer’s  belongings, and I was actually happy when the antagonist came in to take them down. The only character I felt for was Jennifer Peterson when she was stripped from her house and her independence. I didn’t get to learn much about the main characters, only that they wanted to be filthy rich — which, at least to me, is not the most important goal in life. 

The incorporation of some high profile actors in the film such as Chris Messina, Peter Dinklage, Pike, Wiest and more made the film more interesting as they played their roles well to seem believable. 

The biggest takeaway from the trending movie is the exploitation of those under guardianships. The topic of conservatorships and guardianships has been in the media more recently. For example, singer Brittany Spears, who is in a conservatorship, has been trying to get her father out of it for a few years without any luck. Her fans have taken to using “#FreeBrittany” to bring attention to her situation. There are many guardianship “horror” stories in the news which the director, J Blakeson, pulled from when creating the film. This movie clearly shows the way those court appointed legal guardianships meant to aid those who are mentally or physically unwell can easily be corrupted through corporations such as the one Marla runs. Towards the end of the film, the viewers get a glimpse of the way a scam such as that could spin out of control for the elderly which may seem like a fantasy, but is actually happening. 

Overall, I would recommend watching this movie to anyone cooped up inside their home. It was different and unpredictable from the beginning to end. Sometimes I can predict what will end up happening but not in “I Care A Lot.” While it didn’t leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling at the end, it’s definitely worth a watch.