The new dark comedy, I Care a Lot, follows Marla Grayson, played by Rosamund Pike, as the anti-hero. The rise of the anti-hero since Breaking Bad is nothing new, but it was important to the director, J Blakeson, to put a female in that role, and who better to play her than Rosamund Pike? However, Rosamund's truthful portrayal has many wondering if the disturbing plot is based on a true story.
In I Care a Lot, Marla Grayson uses guardianship laws to take advantage of the elderly. She finds old folks who are mostly separated from their families and isolates them even further, uses the court system to become their legal guardian, and then strips them of all their assets that they’ve spent their entire lives accumulating. While Marla isn’t a real person, the inception of I Care a Lot is based on the true story of the guardianship system.
‘I Care a Lot’ is not based on a true story, but that doesn’t mean there is no truth behind it.
Writer and director J Blakeson explained to The Moveable Fest, “The idea first came when I heard news stories about these predatory legal guardians who were exploiting this legal loophole and exploiting the vulnerability in the system to take advantage of older people, basically stripping them of their life and assets to fill their own pockets. These stories were horrifying and not uncommon.”
In I Care a Lot, J explores how this “almost Kafkaesque” situation could play out from the perspective of the conman (or conwoman, in this case). He told Rosamund when discussing the role with her, “If I tell the story from the victim’s point of view, it’ll be unbearably awful. What if I tell it from the perpetrator’s point of view?” So although Marla Grayson isn’t based on a real person, the story behind her was definitely inspired by true events.
Not only is ‘I Care a Lot’ reminiscent of true stories that many people go through, but its story is becoming increasingly relevant.
It’s not uncommon for any elderly person to receive scam phone calls — we’ve all received these calls asking about our "car insurance" or bank account, but oftentimes highly skilled con artists prey on elderly people because of a few factors, which I Care a Lot delves into. The individualism and capitalism of American society drive the children of elderly folks to move on and do their own thing, leaving their parents more vulnerable to scams.
Not only that, but we’re told our entire lives to “save, save, save!” and are encouraged to keep our life savings in 401(k)s and IRAs. By the time we’re 60 or 70 years old, we should all have accumulated quite a bit of wealth, and that leaves us as a healthy target for a scammer or a con artist, like Marla Grayson. Plus, with the new focus on the backwards legalities behind conservatorships because of the #FreeBritney movement, there’s no better time for a film like I Care a Lot.
J tells Moveable Fest, “The idea of a flawed system that can be manipulated for profit and power is extremely relevant right now and that’s not just on a big worldwide stage, but on a small [personal] stage like the attitudes that you can see all around us in the culture, like the worship of wealth and success and entrepreneurialism and all that.”
And what better way to explore the downfalls of our legal and societal systems than through a dark comedy like I Care a Lot? With the art of filmmaking, an adept director like J Blakeson and an exceptional actor like Rosamund Pike can make a seemingly depressing story highly amusing and informative.
I Care a Lot is now streaming on Netflix.