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Film Review: ‘Alice, Darling’ is a Bold Showcase for Anna Kendrick

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Lionsgate

Emotional and psychological abuse attacks a victim in a different manner than physical abuse. The scars may not be outward, while the stress and trauma can linger even longer. The new drama Alice, Darling, puts you right in the midst of a young woman dealing with just such abuse. It’s vivid, clearly depicted, and deeply upsetting. Not only does Alice, Darling establish a new filmmaking voice, the movie also showcases some terrific acting from its leading lady.

Alice, Darling soars thanks to Anna Kendrick, who has rarely been better. Tasked with showing you a woman wracked by psychology of being caught in an abusive relationship, Kendrick never once hits a wrong note. It’s such a well realized turn, regardless of your experience with this type of abuse, you’ll completely engage with what Kendrick is doing.

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Alice (Kendrick) has what outwardly seems like a perfect relationship with Simon (Charlie Carrick). Everyone sees their glamorous life, complete with smiles from both parties, but inside, Alice is a prisoner. Trapped in an emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship, she fears Simon to the point of changing who she is as a person. It’ll take a surprise intervention from friends to even begin to make her see what’s going on.

When Alice opts to go away with friends Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) for the latter’s birthday, she lies to Simon about it. The deception is on both sides, though, as Sophie and Tess have taken Alice away not just to recharge their bonds, but to stage an intervention. The see what’s happening and what Alice to face it. It won’t prove to be easy, especially when Simon shows up unannounced.

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Anna Kendrick has rarely been better than she is here. The way she puts forth how Alice has been transformed by the abusive relationship is riveting. She makes you buy in to the toxicity on hand almost immediately. This is one of Kendrick’s most challenging roles, making for an even bigger success. The small supporting cast, in addition to the aforementioned Charlie Carrick, Kaniehtiio Horn, and Wunmi Mosaku, also includes Mark Winnick, but it’s largely about Kendrick here.

Director Mary Nighy, alongside writers Alanna Francis and Mark Van de Ven, invest you in the friendship, while stressing you about the relationship. Alice, Darling builds slowly, but it’s all based around the work of Kendrick. Nighy rightly focuses things there, keeping the building tension consistently engaging. It’s a hard watch, but never a punishing one.

Alice, Darling showcases a new voice in Nighy, as well as one of the finest performances to date from Kendrick. They combine for something surprisingly powerful, to say the least. The more we see from Nighy and the more filmmakers who see this in Kendrick, the better.

SCORE: ★★★

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Chris
Chris
1 month ago

As someone who’s been wishing for Kendrick to get a KILLER dramatic lead role since Cake, I’m thrilled with these raves!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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