“I Care a Lot” Is an Empty Film of Poor Female Representation

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Netflix’s newest thriller “I Care a Lot” has stirred up lots of conversation after it trended at number one on the streaming platform’s charts since its release. Despite the huge amount of people watching it, it’s been receiving some pretty scathing reviews. Headlines have dubbed it “not the movie it thinks it is” and Daily Beast referred to it as “weaponized white feminism” while comparing it to a recent and similarly infamous film “Promising Young Woman.” Many people have buzzed about the dramatic ending and several articles have popped up attempting to explain it. In my opinion, there’s nothing that needs to be explained. One thing is for sure: “I Care a Lot” is not the boundary-pushing masterpiece that it was sold to the public as. 

The film follows a rich white woman, Marla, who has made a life for herself by committing fraud. As a court-appointed legal guardian for the elderly, she targets elderly people with lots of resources and little family, twisting their narratives by getting their doctors to report that they’re unable to care for themselves when they’re fine. She silences them in her care home with drugs and cuts them off from the outside world. In her own words, she effectively “owns them,” allowing herself full control over their assets. She sells everything they own and then gives herself the money earned as her paycheck. In such a corrupt world, she does this extremely easily. The doctors, judges, and the media vouch for her and defend her from the anger of the relatives of those whom she has imprisoned. Her setup is thwarted when she spots a target who she perceives to be a “cherry,” someone who will be easy to drain. Quickly, she is drawn into a massive web of trouble by the powerful family of her new target who is under the alias of Jennifer Peterson.

Marla’s character is an extremely undeveloped one. She is undoubtedly very money-hungry but she has no backstory that the audience is ever allowed to see. Her constant cruelty is passed off as “girl power” as she pretends that the reason that people hate her so much is that she is a woman, not the fact that she is tearing people’s lives apart for her own gain. She is shown as collected, powerful, and cunning, making her the perfect “girl boss” archetype, which audiences have jumped to adopt without any questions. The audience is intended to love this character despite all of the horrible things she does, and that’s exactly what’s happened. Because it’s okay or even empowering when a person of power commits atrocities as long as she’s a woman, right?

While watching the first 30 minutes of this movie, I thought that it had to be satire because of how ridiculous it was. As I slowly realized that it wasn’t, I was shocked. It’s genuinely meant to be taken seriously. To get the audience to side with such a privileged character who mercilessly abuses others under the guise of “care,” the movie brings in an audience who is desperate for female representation and encourages them to idolize an objectively evil person. It would be amazing to see empowering representation, but this is not an example of that. With all of its girl-boss white feminist platitudes, this movie is nothing special. Its characters aren’t interesting and its ideas are overdone and even harmful.  

In the end, it’s never clear what is meant to be taken from the film. What conclusion is the audience supposed to gather from the ending? Why do so many of the characters come out of nowhere with no backstory? Is the audience supposed to like the characters in it? If so, why? I’m tired of movies like this. I want to see ones that truly commit to carrying messages of revolutionary things, and I want to see complex, well-developed characters. Instead, this is just a film that desperately wants to criticize capitalism while glorifying its monsters. It can’t commit to anything bold. There’s just nothing there.