Spoilers wanted to throw hands.

Young actors have a curse to deal with. More than once, big studios will only cast them in stereotypical roles where they believe young audiences will flock to see them. However, I always find it refreshing to see an actual serious feature that deals with current issues instead of the overplayed rom-com concept. This is not drama for drama’s sake, and it’s not trying to lecture you into falling in with a particular political affiliation. This is a drama about psychological abuse but it’s also, as corny as it sounds, a tale as old as time.

Alice, Darling (2022) is directed by Mary Nighy and written by Alanna Francis and Mark Van de Ven. Alice (Anna Kendrick) is in a relationship with Simon (Charlie Carrick). Her friends Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Musako) are planning a trip out to the country and want Alice to come. Alice seems to be swept by Simon’s wants and needs and fabricates a lie to go away with them. Gradually the signs that Alice is being psychologically abused become evident loud and clear to Tess and Sophie. Eventually they take on the hard task of making Alice realize she needs to break free.

(Credit: Elevation Pictures)

One of the harshest truths to bear is how toxic psychological abuse disguised as care (or love, if you want to use that term) can easily be dismissed by outsiders. We want to believe that it’s just communication flaws. We try to weight pros and cons. We assume positive gestures without acknowledging manipulative behavior. As we assimilate Alice’s quirks and habits, it becomes overwhelming how evident she has been assimilated into this abusive relationship by pure psychological stress. Anna Kendrick is brilliant in this role and carries the movie from beginning to end.

Strongly recommended. The quiet calm in which most of this movie thrives might fool you into thinking this is a matter of perspective. But the depiction of abuse is real and unmistakable once everything rises to the surface. Anna Kendrick’s performance shines throughout. Very much worth a watch.

That will do for now.