Breaking Down That Twist Ending in 'I Care a Lot' (SPOILERS)

The 'I Care a Lot' ending explained — Does Marla (Rosamund Pike) get away with cheating elderly people in their final months, or does she get caught?

Shannon Raphael - Author

Feb. 19 2021, Published 10:45 a.m. ET

Marla (Rosamund Pike) in 'I Care a Lot'
Source: Netflix

Warning: SPOILERS for I Care a Lot are ahead. 

Films centered around con artists and their respective schemes are nothing new, but Rosamund Pike's portrayal of Marla Grayson in I Care a Lot brings the trickery to another level.

The dramedy, which was released on Netflix to American audiences, centers around Marla as she persuades judges to gain guardianship over elderly people.

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Instead of helping these older citizens live out their final months in comfort, Marla cheats them out of their assets. To make matters worse, Marla puts her wards in assisted living, and she prevents them from contacting any of their remaining friends or loved ones. 

Though her scheme was seemingly foolproof at the beginning of I Care a Lot, Marla gets more than she bargained for when she becomes the guardian of Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest).

Find out a breakdown of the ending below.

Source: Netflix
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'I Care a Lot' ending explained — things don't go well for this character (SPOILERS).

Though Marla is cunning and manipulative, she presents herself as a charming and competent guardian in front of the judges. At the beginning of the movie, she has a conflict with the son of one of her wards, a man named Feldstrom (Macon Blair). He tries to inform the court of Marla's scheme, but the judge ends up believing Marla. 

Aside from her friendly outward appearance, Marla works with Dr. Karen Amos (Alicia Witt) to find out which elderly people would be "easy" to trick.

Dr. Amos tells Marla that Jennifer would be a perfect "cherry" (an easy target). Once Marla is appointed as the guardian, she learns  how wealthy Jennifer is. 

Marla doesn't know that Jennifer is actually the mom of a Russian mobster named Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage). He sends several henchmen over to see if his mom is being adequately cared for. Marla's scheme is quickly unraveled. 

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Though Roman later sends a lawyer to offer Marla a six figure sum to hand the guardianship over, she declines. Marla wants millions. Eventually, Marla figures out that Jennifer is related to Roman. In the process, both Dr. Amos and a security guard die.

Meanwhile, Marla commits Jennifer to a psychiatric facility to further anger her son. Marla gets kidnapped, and Roman's team attempts to kill her and her girlfriend, Fran (Eiza González).

Source: Netflix
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Marla gets the upper hand by remembering Roman's license plate number, and she kidnaps him. She leaves him naked in the woods. After he's discovered, Roman is believed to be a John Doe. Marla is then appointed to be his guardian.

Roman ends up admiring her conniving nature, and Marla wants $10 million in exchange for his freedom and his mom's freedom. At the end of I Care a Lot, he instead offers her a job to make her guardian business a worldwide venture.

Does Marla die in 'I Care a Lot'?

If you thought that the film would end with Marla on top as the CEO of a lucrative guardianship business, then you'd be wrong.

As Marla leaves a big TV interview (she's talking about how she cares for elderly people when nobody else will), she's shot by none other than Feldstrom. His mom ended up dying while in Marla's care, and he never got a chance to visit her to say goodbye. 

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Source: Netflix

Marla dies in her girlfriend's arms, and her scheme ends up getting her in the end. Though many viewers were likely focused on the Roman-Marla conflict, the real twist was that her biggest enemy was someone else entirely. 

I Care a Lot is available to stream on Netflix now.

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