Starring: Rosamund Pike, Dianne Wiest, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Macon Blair, Lance Norris, Alicia Witt, Damian Young
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Comedy thriller written and directed by J Blakeson. I Care a Lot (2021) follows Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), a professional, court-appointed guardian for dozens of elderly wards whose assets she seizes and cunningly bilks through dubious but legal means. However, she meets her match when she meets Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a wealthy retiree with no living heirs or family, who turns out to have an equally shady secret of her own and connections to volatile gangster, Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage).
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Our Favorite Quote:'Every fortune ever accumulated started with a leap of faith. But before you take that leap, first take a long, hard look at yourself. Know who you are.' - Marla Grayson (I Care a Lot) Click To Tweet
Marla Grayson: Look at you. Sitting there. You think you’re good people. You’re not good people. Trust me. There’s no such thing as good people. I used to be like you. Thinking that working hard and playing fair would lead to success, and happiness. It doesn’t. Playing fair is a joke, invented by rich people to keep the rest of us poor. And I’ve been poor. It doesn’t agree with me. Because there’s two types of people in this world. The people who take, and those getting took. Predators and prey. Lions and lambs. My name is Marla Grayson, and I’m not a lamb. I am a f***ing lioness.
Feldstrom: Ms. Grayson forced my mother into the home when she made it very clear that she didn’t want to go. And now she has auctioned off my mother’s house, her car, her personal belongings. And she uses the proceeds to pay herself! And now Ms. Grayson has barred me from seeing my mother at all. It’s a goddamn nightmare. She has kidnapped my mother!
Marla Grayson: [referring to Feldstrom’s mother] So, yes. I oversaw the sale of some of her assets to finance that. And, yes, I pay myself too, because caring, sir, is my job. It’s my profession. This is what I do. All day, every day, I care. I care for those who are in need of protection. Protection from apathy. Protection from their own pride. And quite often, protection from their own children.
Feldstrom: I don’t know how you live with yourself. Okay? Our lives are being ruined.
Marla Grayson: I’m just doing my job.
Feldstrom: [after Feldstrom threatens her] Does it sting more because I’m a woman? That you got so soundly beaten in there by someone with a v***na? Having a p**is doesn’t automatically make you more scary to me. Just the opposite. You may be a man, but if you ever threaten, touch, or spit on me again, I will grab your d**k and balls, and I will rip them clean off. You understand?
Fran: [referring to Jennifer] She’s rich, independent, literate. That lady right there, she’s my f***ing hero.
Sam Rice: [referring to Jennifer] Marla, how’s it going? You have to drag her out by her ankles?
Marla Grayson: No, she packed and walked. Hardly any of them fight. They see the official paper. They see the cops. They go right along.
Sam Rice: Yeah, I’d f***ing fight.
Marla Grayson: Yeah, you say that. But at heart, most of us are weak, compliant, scared.
Marla Grayson: Now, Ms. Peterson, I want to say I’m honored to be your guardian. And remember, I’m on your side. I’m here to help.
Marla Grayson: And I open the pouch, and what’s inside? Diamonds. Lots.
Fran: [referring to the diamonds] Do you think they’re stolen?
Marla Grayson: Probably.
Fran: She doesn’t seem that type.
Marla Grayson: Don’t get fooled by old people. Even sadistic, immoral a**holes get old. But you’re missing the point. The point is these diamonds don’t officially exist. So no one would ever miss them.
Fran: [referring to the diamonds] You want to steal them?
Marla Grayson: No. I want to change their location for a while for safekeeping, see what happens.
Alexi Ignatyev: Your mother’s doctor deemed her incapable of taking care of herself.
Roman Lunyov: But that’s bulls**t.
Alexi Ignatyev: Yes, sir. Yes.
Roman Lunyov: So how did this happen?
Alexi Ignatyev: Marla Grayson. I believe she made it happen. She’s your mother’s guardian. She now has full control of your mother’s life and assets.
Roman Lunyov: [to Alexi] Get my mother out of that home, and keep her out. Do it quietly. Do it legally. Do it fast. Keep me away from it.
Marla Grayson: Two weeks ago, Jennifer’s health took a severe downwards turn. She has memory loss indicative of dementia, and her doctor was so worried about her, she referred her to the courts for emergency help.
Dean Ericson: That’s simply not true, Ms. Grayson. You know it. I know it. If the doctor wrote a note, he knows it too.
Marla Grayson: She.
Dean Ericson: What?
Marla Grayson: She. The doctor. She’s a she.
Dean Ericson: Of course.
Dean Ericson: You saw an opportunity, and you grabbed it. Look at all these cash cows on your wall, just leaking money into your account, one overpriced hour at a time. Good for you. I’m not here to ruin your business. I’m happy for you to keep milking these poor, vulnerable people for as long as you damn well please. Hell, if your whole enterprise isn’t the perfect example of the American dream, I don’t know what is. But not Jennifer Peterson. She’s off-limits. And I get it. I understand why you targeted her.
Dean Ericson: Jennifer needs to be released from your care ASAP, and you need to get that she-doctor to write another letter, saying Jennifer’s made a full recovery and no longer needs to be in the care of a guardian.
Marla Grayson: Now, why the f*** would I do that?
Dean Ericson: Well, I can think of two reasons. One, it is the right thing to do. But I doubt that means anything to you. And, two, because she has very powerful friends who can make life uncomfortable for you. Extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable.
Marla Grayson: Is that a threat?
Dean Ericson: No. No. That’s just data for you to collate.
Marla Grayson: How uncomfortable are we talking?
Dean Ericson: You know, aggressively, and excessively uncomfortable. And then eventually, well, let’s just say you’ll not be comfortable, or uncomfortable ever again.
Marla Grayson: Because I’ll be dead?
Dean Ericson: What? I didn’t say that. But we all die, right? Some of us will just die sooner, in a more horribly protracted and painful way.
Dean Ericson: [after he’s offered Marla money] Are you saying no?
Marla Grayson: I’m saying no. I’m saying, “No, thank you.”
Dean Ericson: In the days to come, you’ll replay this conversation in your head over, and over, and you’re going to wish you played it differently. Right now, look at what you have. A thriving business, employees, a nice face, unbroken bones, a life. When this is through, you’re not going to have any of those things. None of them.
Marla Grayson: [to Fran] You know how many times I’ve been threatened by a man? Thousands. You know how many of them ever came to anything? Two. He made threats because threats are all he had left. You can’t convince a woman to do what you want, then you call her a b**ch, and threaten to kill her. I’m not scared of him.
Jennifer Peterson: Oh, you’re a robber.
Marla Grayson: No, I’m your guardian.
Jennifer Peterson: You’re my guardian robber.
Jennifer Peterson: [to Marla] I’m the worst mistake you’ll ever make.
Marla Grayson: I control your drugs. Your food. Your comfort. Everything. Me, not you. Me. Yeah. And I can make things very bad for you. You hear me?
Jennifer Peterson: Yeah?
Marla Grayson: Yeah.
Jennifer Peterson: Then have at it, you little crock of c***. Have at it.
Dean Ericson: I have an affidavit here from an ex-employee from Dr. Amos’s practice, who testifies to the fact that Ms. Grayson and Dr. Amos regularly colluded on cases to game the system. I quote, “Karen would palm off difficult patients to Marla, whether they needed a guardian, or not. And then embellish symptoms to sway the court.”
Fran: She’s dead.
Marla Grayson: Who?
Fran: Jennifer Peterson’s dead.
Marla Grayson: What? When?
Fran: In 1949. When she was three months and nine days, from polio. The woman we have, Marla, isn’t Jennifer Peterson. She just stole the identity of a dead child.
Fran: Marla, I don’t want you to get shot in the head, and I don’t want to get shot either.
Marla Grayson: So we don’t get shot in the head.
Fran: Marla, we went after Jennifer Peterson because she was a cherry. A cherry with no strings attached, baby. But she, she’s a spider web. And we’re going to get trapped in it.
Marla Grayson: Well, maybe. But maybe not!
Jennifer Peterson: [referring to Roman] He’ll kill you next. I mean, that is unless you get me out of here now. Then he might let you live.
Marla Grayson: Jennifer, listen to me carefully. I don’t lose. I won’t lose. I’m never letting you go. I own you. And I will drain you of your money, your comfort, and your self-respect. Not because I want to, not because I’ll enjoy it, or because I plan for it, but because your people didn’t play by the rules.
Marla Grayson: You want to beat me? Well, come at me fair and square. You get me in a courtroom. You outplay me. You don’t bring guns into a care home. You don’t murder one of my friends. This is your life now, Jennifer. You are just another old lady in a care home with dementia, with incontinence, with arthritis. With no one, except me. Jennifer, or whoever the hell you really are, you’re going to die in here, alone, and in terrible pain.
[Jennifer then attacks her and is then moved to the psychiatric ward]
Roman Lunyov: [after Roman kidnaps her] Hello, Marla Grayson. I don’t like you.
Marla Grayson: You only just met me.
Roman Lunyov: You know, you remind me of someone I knew when I was younger. She was fiery like you. Amusing. Confident. Uncooperative. I cut all her fingers off with a bread knife. She’s buried underneath a Jimmy John’s now. Don’t underestimate me.