Anna Kendrick Transfixes in Portrait of Abuse – The Hollywood Reporter

The fiery dude, the quirky leading lady, the semi-rebellious college radio DJ who harnesses the red solo cup’s melodic potential: these roles Anna Kendrick For most of her career, an eclectic mix of largely comic vehicles, again, is gone. Even after the actress received an Oscar nomination for her supporting role up in the airShe seemed, still, more likely to portray a Becca than Natalie.

but in Mary Nighyemotionally disturbing debut Alice, Darling, transfixes Kendrick, confirming that he always has depth and range. The actress plays Alice, a vulnerable and emotionally tormented woman from an insidious abusive relationship. Kendrick begins by transmitting a delicacy, as if Alice was made of china and any sudden move from her boyfriend Simon (Charlie Carrick) or friends Sophie (Wunami Mosaku) and Tess (Kanihtoo Horn) could shatter her. His performance then shifts to the definitive direction of Nighy. It enlarges, retracts and swells again, indicating an emotional scene of abuse.

Alice, Darling

Bottom-line

Sensitive and entertaining.

place: Toronto International Film Festival (gala)
Throw: Anna Kendrick, Kanithio Horn, Wunmi Mosaku, Charlie Carrick
the director: Mary Nighy
screenplay by: alana french

1 hour 29 minutes

It is through Alice’s compulsions—pulling strands of hair, wrapping them tightly around her index finger, obsessively counting calories—that we see the crux of her relationship. Nighy prefers the suggestion to the explanation. Via brief flashback, editor Gareth C. Expertly Conversed by Scales, we understand that Simon, a merchant painter, has absorbed himself into Alice’s psyche. This annoys him – so much so that when Sophie and Tess invite Alice to spend the weekend at Sophie’s cottage, Alice tells Simon that she is going on a work trip. She rehearses the lie when she fetches coffee and pastries from a cafe, her text infusing another level of fear and desperation.

On the drive to the Lake House, Alice can’t stop thinking about Simon. Every time his call comes, a text message comes from him. His simple desire for a safe flight becomes fodder for his worries. Another text asking her if she is thinking about him seems not only suspicious, but frightening. Simon’s frantic communication style – marked by the frequency, timing and tone of his messages – is calculated and coercive; It also keeps him on Alice’s mind, and in particular, as she tries to free herself.

most of Alice, Darling The cottage is located in the surrounding quiet, rural town. When the three arrive, they make a quick stop at a convenience store, where Alice finds a flyer for a missing girl. Local matter consumes our hero, who joins the search team’s efforts to find the teenager. This is the most curious part of Alana Francis’ otherwise fully realized and restrained screenplay: it’s hard to understand what the matter has to tell us without diverting our attention from Alice’s already gripping narrative. As Alice becomes more interested in the matter, her purpose becomes more and more vague.

What is clear is that the physical distance and time away from Simon helps Alice gain perspective about their relationship. But it is not an easy process. Days after the trip, Tess and Alice get into a disastrous fight that leaves the two unsure of their friendship. Sophie, dutiful and maternal, forces a confrontation by hiding Alice’s phone and leaving the women to chat alone. one of the most absorbing parts of Alice, Darling Alice has been watching Sophie and Tess chatting with each other throughout the weekend – to witness the frustrating moments of misunderstanding and the triumphant moments of clarity. Kendrick, Mosaku, and Horn have a natural connection, which makes it easy to invest in their friendship. We quietly beg Sophie and Tess to look beyond the surface of Alice’s angry outbursts and detachment. We want Alice to feel safe enough to trust her teammates.

Their tense conversations and gentle moments are guided by Owen Palette’s alarming score. The tense, rippling music is the closest to feeling Alice’s constant sense of impending doom. Mike McLaughlin’s insensitive cinematography helps maintain the plaintive mood.

Without her phone, Alice loosens up, and this causes her to talk more about her relationship with Simon. Hearing anecdotes of insults, complaints and accusations he reinforces the viewer’s views on Tess, Sophie and, by extension, the depth of the abuse. Alice, Darling A picture of contrasts. By continuing to influence how the abuse affects Alice’s behavior in the first half, Nighy adds a needed layer to the character’s changes in the second half. Alice eats sweets, takes pictures at Tess’s birthday party and declines her friends’ offer to return her cell phones.

third act of Alice, Darling It’s particularly arresting in how it makes use of the already built-in tension. After not hearing from Alice, Simon uses more extreme tactics to try to see her and restore the toxic dynamics. But Sophie and Tess help Alice reconnect with herself, fill her with love, and strengthen their bond. This proves to be Alice’s saving grace, giving her permission and strength to imagine life without Simon.

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