I Care a Lot, (2020) Amazon, Written by J Blakeson and Directed by J Blakeson

I Care a Lot, (2020)  Amazon, Written by J Blakeson and Directed by J Blakeson


Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) doesn’t lose and she sees two types of people in the world, ‘sharks and prey’. Her prey is old people, and she’s worked out a lucrative gig. She files paper in court and gains court-sanctioned conservatorship. Mostly that applies to older people with dementia that can’t feed themselves or look after themselves. The exception to the rule is Britney Spears who has a court-sanctioned conservatorship order that has lasted thirteen years. It’s a lucrative deal for the right party. Grayson makes sure she is the right party and on the right side of the law.

She has mugshots on her wall of all the old people she cares a lot about. Their assets are her assets. She has a piece of paper that says so. Grayson has it all. Blond hair, big heels, big house, the fast car, the beautiful girlfriend Fran as a junior partner (Eiza González) but it’s never enough, she wants more. When one of her clients dies she mourns, because then she’s got to cash in her chips. Dead clients don’t pay the rent.

When she hears from Dr. Karen Amos (Alicia Witt) who is also in the caring profession about ‘a cherry’ she’s elated. She cuts the doctor in on the deal and offers her crumbs from the cake. That’s not benevolence, but good business sense. A cherry is the right age that God willing will not die within the next few years. Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) has shown a little confusion, but with Amos’s help that can be managed into a major case of dementia that requires 24-hour-care facilities, a nursing home, where nobody asks any questions about anything but money. It’s win-win for Grayson and Fran. Win-win for Amos and Grayson. Win-win for Grayson and the care facility.

Jennifer Peterson has no say in the matter. Her pleas that she can look after herself are laughed off by Grayson. She has two police officers at her back, and she points towards them. And if Peterson has any problems, she reassures her, they can be sorted out later. Grayson’s house is in a prime location. It’s filled with goodies that can easily be converted into cash such as Peterson’s car and furniture. Even more intriguing, Grayson discovers a key to a safety deposit box. She quickly gains access and finds an expensive watch, gold bars, bank notes and hidden diamond, which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bingo.

But something doesn’t quite add up. A helpless old woman would need that level of subterfuge or have hidden assets. When Fran runs a few checks, she discovers Jennifer Peterson died of polio when she was a young girl. Peterson like Grayson is not what she seems.

When slick lawyer Dean Ericson (Chris Messina) turns up at Grayson’s office with a suitcase with cash and offers $250 000 and ups it to $500 000 to release Jennifer Peterson from the care facility, with no questions asked, well, it’s stick or twist time. The sensible option would be cash in your chips. But Grayson wants more.

She locks horns with Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage). He’s a feared mafia boss, and a dwarf. I guess the latter is tied in with marketing the film as comedy thriller. It doesn’t add to the story or the cartoon violence that follows. This is capitalism in the raw sold to us as a tit- for-tat Tom and Jerry movie. What is good for Grayson is good for America as her stock rises and she becomes a billionaire on the back on dodgy deals. I Care a Lot plays to the same theme as Gordon Gekko ‘Greed is good’ in Wall Street. It was meant to be ironic, but was taken to heart by the big beasts and drove them to the excess of the 2008 meltdown. I Care a Lot shows a similar direction of travel.  More prophetic and less fun than intended.