As Alice (Anna Kendrick) goes to meet her friends, Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku), for a drink, we immediately realise this is a very wound-up young woman. The relentless pings from her phone cause her to jump and she is constantly touching her hair. We see her earlier winding a lock of her hair so tight around her finger as to cut off the circulation.
Director: Mary Nighy
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Kaniehtiio Horn, Charlie Carrick, Wunmi Mosaku
Storyline: A woman tries to end her abusive relationship, when on a holiday with her close friends
Run time: 89 minutes
The cause of Alice’s distress is gradually revealed to be her boyfriend, Simon (Charlie Carrick), a pretentious, controlling older man. With Tess’s 30th birthday coming up, the women decide to spend a week at Sophie’s parents’ house on the shore of Lake Ontario — the parents are in Florida. Alice comes along after lying to Simon about it being a work trip to Minneapolis.
On the trip, away from Simon, within the protective embrace of her girlfriends, in the serene surroundings, Alice makes some tough choices. On the way to the house, the friends stop at a convenience store where they see a flyer for a missing girl, Andrea. Alice becomes obsessed wondering if Andrea too fled an abusive relationship.
Alice, Darling is anchored by Kendrick’s performance — her practising how to broach the topic of the all-girls trip to Simon, that painful hair pulling and in a million other ways, she reveals Alice’s fear of this man who claims to love her and her self-loathing for not being able to walk away. Kendrick has said in interviews that her relationship to an emotionally abusive older man informed and inspired her decision to work in this movie.
Apart from the emotionally abusive Simon, Alice, Darling (that comma conveys such weight!) celebrates female friendships. While it is not Carrie and company discussing labels and love over lunch at some fancy restaurant, Alice, Darling underlines the role of sisterhood. Though that scene of Alice wielding a maul to chop wood would have been a nice foreshadowing for Simon to get his just desserts, by opting for a non-Hollywood resolution, Alice, Darling is kept real. The thriller in the description is a misnomer and all expecting full on Lisbeth-Salander style revenge for the bad guy might be disappointed. However, if you are willing to spend time with Alice and her spunky friends, satisfaction is guaranteed.
Alice, Darling is currently streaming on Lionsgate Play