Alice, Darling Review

Alice, Darling
When Alice (Anna Kendrick) is invited away for a friend’s birthday, she lies to her boyfriend Simon (Charlie Carrick) about the trip. Soon, Alice begins to look at her relationship with new eyes. Is Simon, in fact, psychologically abusive?

by Helen O'Hara |
Updated on
Release Date:

20 Jan 2023

Original Title:

Alice, Darling

This may be her debut, but director Mary Nighy knows how to build tension. The sight of Anna Kendrick’s Alice twisting her hair so tightly around her finger that she cuts off her circulation makes it clear, in the opening moments of this film, that something is deeply wrong in her life. But what that something is, and how it affects her, only emerges gradually. The result is far more powerful than many showier efforts on the same subject.

This is a slow-burning drama, almost a thriller, anchored by a faultless performance from Anna Kendrick.

From the outside, Alice’s life looks good. She lives in a luxurious city centre apartment, dresses well and has a rising star artist boyfriend in Simon (Charlie Carrick). But as she goes out for drinks with her friends Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) she lets her guard down just a little, and we get the first hints that all is not well in her relationship. When she frantically tries to destroy a note slipped into her pocket by a handsome waiter, it’s clear that Alice and Simon are not quite the dream couple they try to appear. During a week away with the girls, the cracks begin to widen between the real Alice and the life she’s been living under Simon’s controlling shadow.

The insidious truth of Alice’s situation only gradually becomes clear to her, and it’s similarly parcelled out to the viewer as the camera trails her in intimate close-up as she tries to keep Simon happy. This is a slow-burning drama, almost a thriller, anchored by a faultless performance from Kendrick and punctuated by a quietly monstrous turn from Carrick, as a man who thinks he’s entirely reasonable. But it’s ultimately the warmth of Mosaku and Horn that lingers in the mind, as the women who wake Alice up and stand with her against the omnipresent spectre of male violence.

An understated but compelling look at coercive control, toxic relationships and healing friendships, with perhaps a career-best performance from Kendrick.
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