Anna Kendrick plays Alice, a woman at the end of her emotional and physical rope. Her toxic relationship comes to the forefront when she lies to attend a week-long vacation with her best friends. As her personality becomes increasingly manic, her secretive behaviors and stories of Simon raise red flags for those closest to her.
Simon’s psychological manipulation appears in many forms. The constant beratement, the gaslighting, the incessant need to control Alice’s appearance, her whereabouts, what she eats, and when she communicates with him.
Simultaneously frightening and punchable, Charlie Carrick plays Simon with loathsome energy. Kaniehttio Horn, as Tess, brings tough cookie energy. It’s a wonderful balance for Wunmi Mosaku playing Sophie. She arrives with a genuine mother-hen vibe. As tensions rise, Mosaku serves as a mediator and mender. These three women complement each other perfectly. It was a joy to watch such grounded performances.
Anna Kendrick is captivating as Alice. Writer Alanna Francis hands Kendrick a gift by giving the character the hair-pulling disorder, Trichotillomania. She is the physical embodiment of anxiety. Her naturally petite frame and stature lend themselves to heightened physical frailty. But it is Kendrick’s idiosyncracies that place you inside the mind of a woman consumed by terror.
The script’s structure occurs in three distinct acts. The subplot of a local missing woman presents the viewer with a myriad of emotional and narrative possibilities. The gravity of female friendship and the innate protective instincts we carry loom large. The fear women face on a day-to-day basis feels weighty in the narrative. ALICE, DARLING is a keen reclamation of power through the love and support of their fellow sisters.
SYNOPSIS: In the taut thriller ALICE, DARLING, Oscar® nominee Anna Kendrick (Best Supporting Actress, Up in the Air, 2009) stars as a woman pushed to the breaking point by her psychologically abusive boyfriend, Simon. While on vacation with two close girlfriends, Alice rediscovers the essence of herself and gains some much-needed perspective. Slowly, she starts to fray the cords of codependency that bind her. But Simon’s vengeance is as inevitable as it is shattering – and, once unleashed, it tests Alice’s strength, her courage, and the bonds of her deep-rooted friendships.