starring Anna Kendrick, Kaniehtiio Horn, Charlie Carrick, Wunmi Mosaku
written by Alanna Francis
directed by Mary Nighy
by Walter Chaw Not quite the sequel to Alice, Sweet Alice I was hoping for, Mary Nighy's Alice, Darling is actually a principled character piece about a woman named Alice (Anna Kendrick) stuck in an emotionally controlling--indeed, abusive--relationship with manipulative artist Simon (Charlie Carrick). Simon's determined, as these pricks tend to be, to isolate Alice into a codependent situation in which she rejects her best friends, Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn), in favour of a singular fixation on his wants and desires. Ripped, according to Kendrick, from personal experience, Alice, Darling feels, for lack of a better word, real. Real enough that I recognized a few terrible tendencies from the villain in my own dating history as a much younger man--people I've hurt in my past because I was too insecure to be alone, too selfish to be a partner, too stupid to know how to be better. I needed the help of a brilliant and fierce partner to set me straight. It is the work of my life to unlearn the things that were taught to me, and to feel whole enough not to require someone else to complete me. I don't hope to get there; I do hope to get close. No one deserves to be the final piece in an incomplete person's puzzle. It's an uncomfortable thing to see everything you've despised about yourself reflected in a movie character, but there you have it. Simon is a bad guy who doesn't kill people (this isn't a Sleeping with the Enemy thriller), though he's a destructive child who abuses a woman psychologically until she relies on his approval. Alice is through the looking glass, and she knows it.