I Care a Lot is a 2020 American dark comedy thriller film written and directed by J Blakeson. The film stars Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, and Dianne Wiest.
J Blakeson wrote (and directed) I Care a Lot after he was inspired by real news stories of professional guardians in America and a “legal loophole” they exploited. “It started when I saw news stories about real-life predatory guardians who game the system and exploit their wards,” he said.
The Plot of I Care a Lot
I Care A Lot’s dead-center focus is Marla Grayson (Pike), a ruthless con artist masquerading as a legal guardian for the elderly, who she exploits in order to siphon off their wealth. Justifying her actions in the opening narration, Marla views the world in extreme binaries, classifying those around her as either predator or prey, while refuting the concept of “goodness” as performative and inorganic.
Marla goes about her reprehensible ways in a startlingly effective fashion, with the complicit aid of doctors who wrongfully declare targets unfit to manage their own finances, meticulously-planned courtroom appearances meant to hoodwink the justice system and a state-of-the-art retirement home that profits off the entire cycle.
Aiding her in her exploits is her partner, Fran (González), who carries out preliminary research prior to scoping out potential targets and also acts as an enforcer every step of the way.
However, Marla seems to have met her match when she chooses Jennifer Peterson, her newest target, who, unbeknownst to her, is backed by the Russian mob boss, Roman Lunyov (Dinklage).
What Happened to Jennifer Peterson?
You might have noticed we don’t see much more of Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) around the halfway point, once Marla has her committed to a psychiatric ward. So, does she ever make it out?
Marla and Roman (Peter Dinklage) discuss Jennifer at the end when Marla again asks for $10 million to have her released. Instead, Roman pulls a wild card and offers to partner up with Marla to build a global nursing home business. Since Marla accepts, we assume she does seem to Jennifer’s release as part of the deal.
The Reason Behind Marla’s Death
Not only does Marla’s death come right when she appears to have everything she wanted, but it yanks a happy ending from her love Fran (Eiza González) too. While this comeuppance might be warranted, it’s bittersweet. Rosamund Pike and J Blakeson discussed the ending with USA Today.
“In my head, Marla never believed she was going to die,” Pike told USA Today. “I mean, right until the point that she breathes her last, I think she still thinks she’s going to win and she’s going to get out of it. I really do.”
Blakeson said, “People find the ending satisfying, but it leaves a bittersweet taste in their mouth because we end with the most likable character in the movie screaming in despair.”