February 2, 2023

SCREEN | Anna Kendrick Controls 'Alice, Darling' x WFF 2022

"He wouldn't love me if he knew how bad I am."
Anna Kendrick Charlie Carrick Mary Nighy | Alice, Darling | Whistler Film Festival 2022
Whistler Film Festival
Anna Kendrick stars in British actress-turned-director Mary Nighy's disquieting relationship drama Alice, Darling. Kendrick gives a gripping yet restrained performance as the titular young woman struggling to leave her emotionally abusive and controlling boyfriend (Charlie Carrick) after he expertly manipulates their toxic co-dependency.

How Kendrick mimics a victim's tics and coping mechanisms by suppressing her feelings of panic or terror is quite something in an unflinching portrayal of a woman in crisis. Kaniehtiio Horn and Wunmi Mosaku also star as Alice's best friends forced to intervene during a weekend birthday trip to the latter's family lakeside cottage.

Scripted by Alanna Francis, Nighy (daughter of Bill) layers the Toronto set and shot film like a horror thriller where paranoia and the sense of danger feel imminent at every turn despite the lack of any immediate physical threat. When a local missing woman triggers flashes of Alice's tension, she becomes frantic and starts to break down at the thought of her live-in boyfriend's reaction to her perceived misbehaviour.

A measured Kendrick does her best work as Alice, Darling proves to be a tightly affecting psychological drama from the clear-eyed point-of-view of a victim coming to terms with her own intimate partner abuse. Nighy's arresting film truly understands how someone manifests their trauma through a romantic partner's control.

Alice, Darling screened at the 2022 Whistler Film Festival and screens at the Rio Theatre starting February 10th. It's also available through digital and video on demand.

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