I started watching this Netflix movie because of the title, and, well, because it was ranked number one in my region. I never take Netflix’s classifications very seriously because sometimes they’re way off. For I care a lot, “witty, suspense in the air, satire.”
Well, from the monologue at the beginning, I should have been warned:
“Look at you, sitting there. You think you’re good people. You’re not good people. Trust me. There’s no such thing as good people. I used to be like you, thinking that working hard and playing fair would lead to success and happiness. It doesn’t. Playing fair is a joke invented by rich people to keep the rest of us poor. And I’ve been poor. It doesn’t agree with me. ‘Cause there’s two types of people in this world: the people who take and those getting took, predators and prey. Lions and lambs. My name is Marla Grayson and I’m not a lamb. I am a f— lioness.”
ALERT: SPOILERS AHEAD
Twenty minutes into the movie, I feel sick in the stomach. I’m so enraged, I turn it off, unable to continue. Maybe because I have an elderly mom, the plot hits too close to home, but here’s a summary: Rosamund Pike (so brilliant in the role she deservedly won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy) plays Marla Grayson, a professional court-appointed guardian for many elderly wards, whose assets she quickly seizes and disposes of as she pleases. She partners off with doctors who find “cherries” – wealthy elderly people with no relatives, but in reasonably good health, whose money they can siphon off for many years. If people find that funny, I’m afraid there’s something really wrong with their moral compass. Or with mine, because it just made me sick.
Marla then finally ends up adding a new ward who could change things for her, but not in a good way: Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), who apparently had no living relatives, but who is actually the mother of Russian mob boss Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage, from Game of Thrones), who spares no efforts in trying to get his mother (and a pouch full of diamonds) back.
I caught myself rooting for the mafioso to kill her in a very painful way (which is ethically wrong), but the movie did not even deliver me this catharsis. The problem with this movie is that I’m not sure what message it’s trying to convey. There are many instances where Marla sends messages of female empowerment, but being an empowered woman does not equate to being a psychopath. At the same time, there are many instances when derogatory names are used to refer to women, so no, it is not trying to uplift women.
The only message from this film is that money is the only driving force in this world and no one is to be trusted. Pretty depressing, isn’t it? Is it really the kind of message that we should be spreading at a time when so many people are already suffering so much with mental illness? I dare say not.
My recommendation: skip this movie. It adds nothing to you. Apart from Rosamund Pike’s acting, there’s not much to be gained from watching other than regret for two hours that could have been spent with something a bit more uplifting.
by Cris Gontow