‘Alice, Darling’: Cast & Crew
Director: Mary Nighy
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Kaniehtiio Horn, Charlie Carrick, Wunmi Mosaku, Mark Winnick, Carolyn Fe
Available On: Lionsgate Play
Duration: 1 Hour 29 Minutes
‘Alice, Darling’: Story
A young woman (Anna Kendrick) trapped in an abusive relationship becomes the unwitting participant in an intervention staged by her two closest friends when they all go out for a quiet birthday celebration away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Will the other two friends be able to wake her up to the reality that she’s in an abusive relationship? Will she finally confront her oppressor? Will she finally get respite? Or will she once again give in to societal pressures and the norms of the world? Well, for all that, you’ll have to watch the film.
‘Alice, Darling’: Performances
Anna Kendrick pulls off another subtle yet powerful performance. The character has layers of different emotions, and they’re so astutely described by her through her performance onscreen. From going crazy behind a lost earring to being the carefree girl as soon as the phone is taken away, Kendrick switches between emotions in a flash. She makes the character come out strong yet very vulnerable and gullible at the same time. That kind of emotional flip brings a relatability to the character and makes it feel plucked out of real life.
The performances of the rest of the cast are commendable yet their onscreen time is quite short, and therefore, there is nothing to stand out in them.
‘Alice, Darling’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Alanna Francis and Mark Van de Ven’s writing is the best thing about ‘Alice, Darling’. They’ve managed to get the nuances of an abusive relationship really well. Whenever people talk of an abusive relationship, they always think it’s domestic violence, but there are a million other things that can constitute an abusive relationship and that doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with domestic violence. Their writing gives a different perspective on an abusive relationship and that’s what’s so great about this story. However, the angle about the missing girl wasn’t actually that necessary to the flow of the story. Either it could have had a happy ending in that department or they could have deleted that part altogether.
When the story is so potent, it’s easier for the director to captain the ship. Mary Nighy’s case is pretty similar. The writing was so subtle yet powerful that she didn’t have too much to do in the director’s chair. What was slightly disappointing is that she couldn’t bring to the table a lot of her forte. However, she managed to hold the fort decently and come up with a presentation that didn’t look forced and narrated a perspective that not many from the audience would be aware of.
Mike McLaughlin’s cinematography is another highlight of the film. Shooting it in the middle of a forest is the best thing that could have been done. It brings out an eerie feeling to the entire situation that the lead character is going through. To add to that, the gorgeous locales of the countryside are definitely soothing to the eyes and McLaughlin’s managed to capture that brilliantly onscreen.
Owen Pallett’s music is decent. The song in the closing titles of the movie keeps haunting you for a long time after the movie gets over. The background score, however, isn’t that great. Considering a lot of the story is set in the countryside, a lot more background score could have created that necessary impact and helped transport the viewer right to the middle of the woods. Sadly, that didn’t happen.
The editing by Gareth C. Scales is crisp. The film doesn’t sag at all in the middle and you’re constantly hooked. Keeping such a complex storyline to just 89 minutes is also praiseworthy.
‘Alice, Darling’: Can Kids Watch It?
‘Alice, Darling’ is a slow burner about what an abusive relationship can also feel like. It doesn’t always have to be tantamount to domestic violence, but even without raising a finger, a lot of things constitute an abusive relationship, and Anna Kendrick’s film just proved that right. Her performance was spot on. If you're looking for a thoughtful slow burner, then this film is definitely for you. It surely is a great One Time Watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.