New Year, New Netflix: ‘I Care A Lot’

Rosamund Pike shines as Marla Grayson, a professional nursing home scam artist, in Netflix’s ‘I Care A Lot’

Phoebe Sklansky and Maddy Wester

You don’t expect the crime of the century to revolve around your grandmother’s nursing home. Then again, that’s what makes this operation so ingenious—who would suspect the ultimate grift to take place during Friday night bingo?

The Netflix Original “I Care A Lot” opens in a nursing home as the residents are awaiting their morning medications. The narrator delivers an eerie monologue warning that there is no such thing as good people, only predators and prey. It soon becomes obvious that the predator is Marla Grayson, a state appointed legal guardian, and the prey are the unwitting elders who are court-ordered to be her wards. Grayson is a state-appointed legal guardian, meaning she is to act in the best interests of those placed in her jurisdiction: individuals unable to make or communicate reasonable decisions for their personal care. However, Grayson has a slightly different objective. She views her job description as a means to gain legal guardianship over the memory-impaired elderly and slowly drain them of their resources. Grayson does this with the help of Fran, her partner-in-crime (and in-love), a corrupt doctor, an unsuspecting judge and the owner of a nursing home. Her operation is a well-oiled machine, and it seems like nothing can stop her.

Minutes into the movie, Dr. Amos tells Grayson she’s sitting on the jackpot. Jennifer Peterson, a wealthy older woman with no family, slight memory impairment and a decade or two left to live, is ripe for the picking. After an emergency hearing during which Dr. Amos falsely claims Peterson is in a sharp mental decline, Peterson is ushered out of her home, baffled, distraught and almost entirely mentally with it. While the appeal of Jennifer Peterson was that she promised tremendous wealth with no strings attached, Marla and company have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Peterson has powerful friends (spoiler: Peter Dinklage) in powerful places who will stop at nothing to free her and put an end to Grayson’s operation. 

“I Care A Lot” is unquestionably carried by Rosamund Pike and her killer bob. Her character, Marla Grayson, is cool, calculated and conniving. You want to hate her for all of her evil deeds—namely, legal-ish elder abuse—but you can’t help but admire her panache. She has the confidence of a mob boss with the wardrobe of a rom-com character working in New York City publishing. She puts a modern twist on the crime lord trope, trading in the cigars and whiskey on the rocks for power suits and a vape pen. Grayson draws you in with her tenacity and fearlessness; she may be evil, but she knows exactly what she’s doing, and is really good at doing it. She’s not scared by anybody or anything: not mafioso Peter Dinklage, not Danny Castellano from “The Mindy Project” and certainly not the patriarchy. With her smarts and tailored outfits, Grayson is straight out of “Ocean’s 8.” If she weren’t so cruel, this woman would be a role model to aspiring boss b*tches everywhere. Plus, she’s a SoulCycle regular, which just makes sense.

While it’s infuriating to watch how successful the grift is (who wants to imagine their grandparents being trapped and sedated in a nursing home?), it is refreshing to see a female crime ringleader for a change. She goes mano a mano with a Russian mafia boss, and she does it in heels (and platform sneakers). 

Overall, we are giving this movie 3 out of 5 stars. “I Care A Lot” was edgy, dark and novel. While we enjoyed watching it, we agreed we probably wouldn’t watch it again and weren’t dying to recommend it to our friends. If you’re trying to find a movie to Netflix-and-chill to, “I Care A Lot” is a decent option, because you won’t really care if you get ~distracted~. However, Rosamund Pike, if you’re (somehow) reading this, we’d gladly watch the free version on Hulu with ads just for you. 

⋆⋆⋆