Kendrick shines as a woman finding herself again in ‘Alice, Darling’

Sometimes we lose ourselves when we feel pressured to change for another person. If that person is particularly controlling, it can magnify how much of ourselves we lose. That’s the central question in Alice, Darling, a new feature film that opens wide on Friday. The film showed at TIFF and had a limited release late in 2022, but now it’s expanding to start the new year.

In it, Anna Kendrick plays Alice. She was once a strong and confident woman but her friends have noticed a change since she started a relationship with Simon (Charlie Carrick). In fact, Alice can’t even be honest with Simon when she heads out for a girls weekend with friends Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku).

On that weekend, Tess and Sophie are struck by the changes in Alice, who seems sharp and distant. It’s only after some prodding, and cutting her off from her phone, that they begin to realize just how impacted Alice has become in her relationship with Simon. When he tracks them down and makes an unannounced visit at their remote cabin getaway, things come to a head quickly. Will Alice give in, or will she take back her life?

Kendrick is a versatile and strong performer. While we tend to think of her from bubbly roles like Pitch Perfect or the voice of Poppy in Trolls, she has tremendous range. That led to her getting an Academy Award nomination for Up in the Air, and it’s on display again here. She dives into this layered and tortured performance, with some emotional showcase scenes in the later stages of the film that really resonated.

Horn and Mosaku do a nice job in supporting roles, too. In particular, Horn’s Tess pushes Alice to get at the truth. And the narrative is handled well by director Mary Nighy, who builds the tension through a couple crucial sequences.

Overall, this is a rich, emotional journey buoyed by a great lead performance. It’s an engaging film that’s worth checking out.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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