Review by Dan Skip Allen
Anna Kendrick is known for her bright and peppy personality in such films as the Pitch Perfect franchise or Trolls. Earlier in her career, she was in more dramatic films like Up in the Air and The Accountant, and more recently, she starred opposite Blake Lively in Paul Feig's A Simple Favor. Alice, Darling might be the most dramatic work she's done in her career. She puts it all out on the line.
There haven't been many films like Alice, Darling. This film takes the romance drama genre in a new direction that I don't think anybody could have predicted. Anna Kendrick gives the rawest and most vulnerable performance of her career as a woman in a toxic relationship. But she doesn't realize it until she goes on a getaway with a couple of her best friends at a secluded house in the woods.
This era of the #MeToo movement has brought many stories showing how women are subjected to violence and abuse at the hands of their partners. Sometimes that abuse can be verbal, like belittling them or making them feel bad about their decisions, like what they eat. Alice, Darling might be the most realistic movie about this subject I've ever seen. It makes me sick thinking about it.
Anna Kendrick gives one of the most realistic cinematic portrayals of a woman in an abusive relationship. This is a rare occurrence in movies these days. Even though revenge thrillers have been a thing for years, there haven't been many stories dealing with these realistic relationship-type stories. She has to learn about how much strength and courage she has within herself.
This movie shows one side of an abusive relationship, but it works both ways. Sometimes women can be a bit overbearing and controlling as well. Only when Kendrick goes to the cabin does she realize she has been a bad friend to her two best friends, played by Wunmi Mosaku and Kaniehtio Horn, because of how her boyfriend treated her. She forgot she had two supportive friends. It's hard sometimes to see beyond your own face when your mind is on such a difficult thing as making an abusive boyfriend or husband happy.
Mary Nighy is the daughter of Bill Nighy, a famous British actor. She has teamed up with the screenwriter Alanna Francis to tell an intimately personal story of a woman's life dealing with verbal and emotional abuse. This is a story only women could tell, and from top to bottom, many women are featured in making this motion picture. I can see how this story/film was a draw for them to work on.
Alice, Darling takes the #MeToo movement to the next level. It puts a woman in such emotional turmoil she can't even see who's her friend and who's not. The movie uses such intelligent verbiage that it tries to be very smart in how the words affect the main character. Kendrick, along with the writer and director, put the viewer in an uncomfortable position to watch this woman's emotional journey of verbal abuse and manipulation by her boyfriend. It's not easy to watch, but it's worthwhile.
Alice, Darling hits theaters on December 30.