Alice, Darling (Blu-ray)

A young woman trapped in an abusive relationship becomes the unwitting participant in an intervention staged by her two closest friends.

June 9, 2023 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’m willing to bet that when one thinks about abusive relationships, that physical violence is in the mix. That’s not always true. In these days when everyone’s got a cell phone, access to email and text messages – it’s easy to stalk someone. And when that someone is your significant other, it gets a bit creepy. That’s essentially what we have with Alice, Darling. I’d not really heard of this title, but I’m a fan of Anna Kendrick, so I figured “Hey, why not!” I’ll mention this again, I’m certain of it, but this isn’t really a movie that men will gravitate towards. Being a male, I let it collect a bit of dust on my “to be reviewed” pile, before taking the plunge. This is most likely why Women Talking is still in that same pile. Shades of a Lifetime movie will dominate, but hey at least it’s not about a woman coming back to her home town at Christmas. There are plenty of those. Ok, let’s get on with it.

Alice (Anna Kendrick) is in a toxic relationship with Simon (Charlie Carrick). We don’t see any physical violence, but we’re pretty sure there is (or will be some). Simon is controlling, constantly messaging Alice, checking up on her. This forces Alice to resort to lying to Simon if she wants to have a few drinks with her friends, Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn). The stress of Simon becomes so intense at times that Alice resorts to literally pulling out her hair to cope. Alice and her two friends decide to take a week’s vacation at a cottage near a lake. Alice, knowing this will never fly with Simon, says she’ll be on a business trip. This prevents her from having a good time and with his incessant texts, forces her to add more and more lies to her story. Her friends sense her tension and anxiety and in one of the film’s most poignant moments – confront her about her situation.

It’s easy in situations like this to say “why don’t you just leave?” But I’m willing to bet that there’s a lot more to it than that. People stranded in abusive relationships often don’t try to get out until it’s too late. That’s part of the problem with the film. At a scant 89 minutes, it missed an opportunity to develop the characters some more. We’re essentially force fed the plot in the first scene. Don’t get me wrong, it’s some of Anna Kendrick’s best work, but I just found the entire plot a bit too ho-hum. I’m not making light of real life situations like this. They exist. And it’s a terrible thing to live in fear, but Alice, Darling never conveys that effectively. If you’re looking for a “Lifetime” movie with more of an edge, this is it. If you’re a fan of Anna Kendrick, she does fine work here though I’d recommend Up in the Air or Mr. Right (these two films show her range) instead.

Video: How’s it look?

This isn’t the type of movie in which the technical merits are going to sell it. Likely the target audience (women) won’t notice and/or care about the visuals of how detailed the audio mix is. That said, it’s a new movie and it looks good. It looks just as we’d think it would with some cityscapes, nature scenes (the retreat/vacation) as well as some dimly lit interior shots. Flesh tones are warm and natural, detail is spot on and as I said earlier – it looks fine.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Like the video, the audio gets the job done. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for the DTS HD Master Audio mix to flex its muscle and, again, the demographic most likely won’t really care one way or the other. Apologies is my comments come off as misogynistic – I was up for the role of Simon. Just kidding. That aside, it delivers the good with most of the “action” being dialogue and yelling (which, I guess, is dialog as well). No real complaints.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Making Alice, Darling – The lone supplement on the disc has co-producers Katie Bird Nolan and Lindsay Tapscott as they explain the project (no “Lifetime” movie here, folks) as well as the casting, story and such. It’s not mind-blowing, but better to have than not.

The Bottom Line

The supplement has the producers saying they didn’t want a Lifetime movie, but that’s kind of what this is. It’s R-rated, so it’s got a little more of an edge, but it’s also makes one think. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray looks and sounds good, but with only one supplement it’ll be a hard sell.

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