Streaming review: “Alice, Darling” (2022)

“Alice, Darling” (2022)

Drama

Running Time: 89 minutes

Written by: Alanna Francis

Directed by: Mary Nighy

Featuring: Anna Kendrick, Kaniehtiio Horn, Charlie Carrick and Wunmi Mosaku

Simon: “What am I going to do without you…… my beautiful cow.”

Released on the Apple Streaming platform is the drama “Alice, Darling” (2022) a film about a toxic and manipulative relationship and the dawning of that on the victim. It has essentially two main characters as well as two others on the periphery, which means everything about this had better draw you in or it will not be enjoyed much at all. 

“Alice, Darling” feels like a brief film, and at eighty nine minutes it is time wise, especially when dramas run a lot longer in cinemas. This film feels like it wants to get on with it, and feels like there may have been a longer film but it was left on the cutting room floor. In some cases getting to the heart of a story is a good thing, however this feels like it needed room to breathe but I felt hammered by how quick it went and was confused about a lot, with many questions left unanswered. Sure the subject matter is very personal and important but for it to be handled in the way it is onscreen is extremely disappointing. Possibly my main issue with “Alice, Darling” is that it is told from the point of view of privilege, where all the people involved are obviously rich and have no money issues or not important ones. I mean one of Alice’s friends is working in some media role with no money issues, she can take a week off and show no signs of missing money at all. Alice works in a high paying job where she can take a week off and lie about it and her boyfriend is an artist who can put on a show in New York with no perceived issues other than not as many people turned up as he would have liked. What this film seems to miss is that many of these situations are within low socio economic groups who also have some kind of dependant so leaving is very difficult because there is either nowhere to go or they would be left literally out in the cold.

“Alice, Darling” is based around Alice (Anna Kendrick) who seemingly has a psychologically abusive boyfriend, Simon (Charlie Carrick). After taking a vacation with friends, she reassesses her relationship and attempts to break her codependency in spite of Simon’s vengeful attitude. Although these friends seem clueless about her situation until very late in the peace, but make up for it with a confrontational ending that occurs with little narrative realism.

Written by Alanna Francis and directed by Mary Nighy who are relatively inexperienced in putting together a film especially one that requires nuance to be believable seem lost although on the surface “Alice, Darling” does have a clear plot and narrative that comes to a conclusion it does so without really being earnt. In fact this seems like it comes from the television format of the 2000s where characters are drawn broadly enough to be understood but vague enough that they are one dimensional, there is no real depth to anyone within the narrative. Don’t get me wrong, I get what this story is about but the reality is so much different to this, I require more in a drama than what “Alice, Darling” offers.

The performances within “Alice, Darling” are all ok, no-one really shines, they either don’t have enough time to flourish or they are only one thing which is not how a film like this should work. In all honesty the actors are all let down by an anaemic script with little directorial control. In the end I didn’t buy any of the characters motivations for most of the running time, everyone is far to pretty and the idea that some new age laying on hands will be an actual answer to someone leaving an abusive partner is a let off for the real actions that are required.

Over the decades there have been many films made about abusive partners, husbands and situations and they have been of varying quality which is normal, many have been based in some kind of reality. If you are looking for a good story with some realistic situations then there a simply a plethora of under sung gems like “Waitress” (2007) or even “Sleeping with the Enemy” (1991), the former was lost at the time of release but offers some situations that occur in these type of relationships and the former was a hit at the time and shows what a star can do with a role when the script is not 100% there.

I actually like all the actresses in this film and they have nothing to prove but they were sold a bill of goods on “Alice, Darling”, to me it feels like a crowd pleasing film far too much than it should be, we see Alice in a bad relationship, we see her bond with her friends after some issues, we then see them all stand up to the abuser with an outcome that relies on post new age feel goodisms and finally a rebirth of a new strong person. Ask anyone that has been in a relationship like this and see how it went for them.

Avoid this at all costs and go check out “Waitress”, you will feel all the better for it.

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