Alice, Darling (2022)

84% – Critics
45% – Audience

Alice, Darling Storyline

In the taut thriller ALICE, DARLING, Oscar® nominee Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) stars as a woman pushed to the breaking point by her psychologically abusive boyfriend, Simon. While on vacation with two close girlfriends, Alice rediscovers the essence of herself and gains some much-needed perspective. Slowly, she starts to fray the cords of codependency that bind her. But Simon’s vengeance is as inevitable as it is shattering – and, once unleashed, it tests Alice’s strength, her courage, and the bonds of her deep-rooted friendships.—Lionsgate

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Alice, Darling Movie Reviews

A compelling yet incomplete directorial debut.

Anna Kendrick really does give a career-best performance as Alice, a woman in turmoil and denial over her emotionally abusive relationship. Really, the whole cast is incredible, and the highlight of this film is the interactions between the three friends as they peel back the layers of Alice’s abuse.

Each of the three friends has a distinct personality, clearly different set of life experience, and manner of communication. It makes it easy to connect with them immediately and understand their perspectives and sympathise with their plights as they try to both evade and help each other.

The film also does a terrific job of exploring the psychology of Alice. It can be easy to dismiss people who are being abused because it’s hard to understand why they don’t just leave the relationship. But it’s so understandable here; Alice has become so emotionally dependent upon her boyfriend who appears kind and supportive on the surface but is so needy and manipulative in his speech that he’s become an emotional leech without her realising it.

I loved how the film didn’t make Simon out to be straight-up evil and sadistic. He’s an otherwise normal guy who doesn’t think anything he’s doing is wrong or abnormal, but is in desperate need of a reality check. It’s complex and believable.

What didn’t work for me is that this movie simultaneous feels too short and too long. The climax is emotionally resonant and satisfying in its own right, but it seemingly leaves multiple plot threads dangling that retrospectively feel like they were just there to kill time and didn’t contribute much of meaning to the story or themes.

A multitude of scenes should have either been cut or expanded upon to give more weight to Alice’s precarious situation. As it is, the movie feels slow because of all the fat in the script that wasn’t capitalised on.

Even so, the performances and dialogue are often so compelling and satisfyingly intricate that they alone make the film worth a watch. It’s a thoroughly impressive directorial debut.

In a relationship with a Narcissist

Feeding on attention whether it is positive or negative, the need to control others, manipulation, blame, and the absence of empathy; such are the signs of narcissism. Alice’s boyfriend Simon possesses such traits in large amounts. In a rare moment away from him and in the company of her friends at a cottage in Ontario, Alice reflects on her situation. Noticing her stress, doubt, depression, and shame, Alice’s friends attempt to open her eyes to the emotional abuse. However, Simon is not yet ready to let go of his possession.

While Alice is going through this emotional turmoil there is a missing teenage girl in the town. Alice observes that, “if this girl is hurt, it is probably by someone she knows.” Alice begins to wonder if there is more to life than Simon.

Since I was once married to a narcissist, I recognized Alice’s plight and coping mechanisms. It was interesting to see how the character dealt with the abuse. Anna Kendrick (Alice) is in a different role from her normal comedy routines. She does a good job of portraying a character attempting to reclaim herself from someone who feeds on her soul. I wish the film went deeper in many ways, but it does an excellent job at revealing the toll that narcissists take on our lives.

World premiere in Toronto.

Strong performances but didn’t push the envelope as far as I thought it would

Alice, Darling (2022) is a movie my wife and I saw in theaters last night. The storyline follows a group of friends who decide to go on a girl trip to celebrate one of their birthdays. One of the friends, Alice, has a psychological and verbally abusive boyfriend she needs to lie to, to go on the trip. She spends the entire trip scares to death he will find out about the trip. As her friends discover what’s bothering her they will do their best to help her overcome her fears.

This movie is directed by Mary Nighy (Traces) in her major motion picture directorial debut and stars Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Kaniehtiio Horn (Possessor), Charlie Carrick (Deep Water) and Wunmi Mosaku (His House).

The storyline for this had a lot of potential and the cast is outstanding and delivers strong performances. The chemistry between the cast was tremendous and felt authentic. You could feel the anxiety oozing through the screen and the friends genuine desperation to help their friend. However, there were decisions throughout the picture by both the friends and Alice that didn’t feel realistic and was frustrating. The subplot of Angela missing was under utilized, and while a metaphor, could have had a better conclusion that was more impactful and less subtle. There’s a sex scene in here that’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. The ending was solid but I thought they’d show more of the husbands abusive ways in an explosive climax.

Overall, this is an okay movie with some redeeming elements but didn’t push the envelope as far as I thought it would. I would score this a 5.5-6/10 and recommend seeing it once.