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Anna Kendrick delivers a career best performance in Alice, Darling
Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick delivers another strong performance in Alice, Darling from Lionsgate. Kendrick portrays the titular character; a woman pushed to the breaking point by her psychologically abusive boyfriend, Simon (Charlie Carrick). Mary Nighy makes her directorial debut with the film while Alanna Francis pens the screenplay.
While on vacation with two of her close girlfriends, Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kanlehtillo Horn), Alice rediscovers the essence of herself and gains some much-needed perspective. Slowly, she starts to fray the cords of codependency that bind her. The time has come for Alice to leave Simon’s vengeance, as inevitable as it is shattering – and, once unleashed, it tests Alice’s strength, courage, and the bonds of her deep-rooted friendships.
Clocking in under ninety minutes, Alice, Darling explores the dynamics of an abusive relationship when the abuser is also a narcist. When we first meet Alice, it’s clear she’s in a fragile state but is making a happy appearance. Simon is so in control of Alice’s life that she has to lie to her besties to go on vacation.
One of the things I want to commend the creative team for is the handling of the abuse. The filmmakers avoid overdoing the abuse for shock value. Instead, they focus on the red flags Alice’s friends see in her relationship. Kendrick goes through a wave of emotions throughout the film, allowing us to identify with her character truly and why she chooses to stay with the tool known as Simon. In the role of Simon, Charlie Carrick gives the character a vibe that avoids a cartoonish villain and treats him as someone entitled. Wunmi Mosaku and Kanlehtillo Horn also deliver solid supporting work as Alice’s friends.
There is a subplot in the movie that doesn’t gel with the rest. I understand the filmmakers were going for a compare-and-contrast vibe, but it didn’t work. Additionally, potential viewers should know if they decide to give Alice, Darling a view, the film is languid and dialogue-driven. That said, Anna Kendrick delivers a career-best performance, and in a less crowded year, I’m sure there would be awards talks.
Final Grade: B
Alice, Darling is showing in limited AMC theaters now.
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