Alice, Darling review – Anna Kendrick excels in abusive relationship thriller
Kendrick impresses as a woman being deprived of emotional oxygen by a toxic boyfriend, though Mary Nighy’s film gets distracted by a subplot
Anna Kendrick gives a vehement, self-aware lead performance in this Gaslight-style suspense drama about a young woman trapped in a coercive, abusive relationship from screenwriter Alanna Francis and debut feature director Mary Nighy. There are some edge-of-the-seat moments and interestingly subtle tonal inflexions, though the story spends time on a contrived subplot about a missing girl, time that might have been better devoted to developing the central thriller storyline.
Alice (Kendrick) is in a toxic relationship with Simon (Charlie Carrick), an arrogant, controlling man with an uncertain career as an artist, in constant need of reassurance and always tracking Alice’s movements. When Alice is allowed out for a rare evening at a bar with her two best friends Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku), we can see how glassy-eyed Alice’s smile is, how tensely distracted, how she flinches at each ping from her phone. She is no longer the vivacious friend Tess and Sophie once knew and loved; she appears to have issues with food and her hair is thin.