Or: Do I Though?
“I’ve been poor. It doesn’t agree with me.”
A crooked legal guardian who drains the savings of her elderly wards meets her match when a woman she tries to swindle turns out to be more than she first appears.
Regardless of how I feel about the overall film, I do love me an unashamedly brutal character who doesn’t redeem themselves in the final hour. Marla Grayson is a stone cold See You Next Tuesday who rips off the elderly by playing the system to become their legal guardian. Once she’s shipped them into assisted living – with a certificate to show they’re incompetent on their own – she effectively isolates them from their loved ones and the outside world, then sells off all their assets for her own gain.
Working with her is partner in crime, and love, Fran – and Doctor Karen Amos, who writes each of the damning reports that lands her patients in Marla’s care. Hey, it’s a living and a good one for the women, who live large and elegantly – and without remorse. Even when the odd family member pops up to throw accusations into the wind, Marla manages to keep her cool and the judge on her side.
One day the doctor calls Marla with a new target: wealthy Jennifer Peterson, a retiree with no family. Under oath, Amos testifies that Jennifer has onset dementia and can’t possibly care for herself any longer. Marla is appointed guardian and the rest goes pretty much to plan. Except Jennifer is different somehow and this only becomes more obvious when Marla finds a key in her belongings, which leads her to a lock box full of diamonds. What’s a girl to do but snatch those fuckers right up?
While Fran is overseeing the final renovation of Jennifer’s home, a taxi driver turns up on the doorstep, asking for Jennifer. Ooooh. Turns out Jennifer is connected: mother of a Mafia boss connected – and Marla dun FUCKED UP. So she releases Jennifer and we all go home, no further questions asked. LOL.
No, Marla finds herself being subtly threatened by a Mafia lawyer who offers a generous pay off to get Jennifer released. Marla correctly concludes that if they’re willing to buy Jennifer back then they’re probably willing to pay much more – so she rejects the offer, laughing in the lawyer’s face. A following court date doesn’t help Jennifer’s case when her lawyer, Dean Ericson can’t provide proof that Jennifer hired him. Shit son.
And this is how Marla and co find themselves on the wrong side of Peter Dinklage’s Mafia boss (with a checkered and complex past I’m not even going to go into). What entails is a rip roaring battle of wits, one in which Marla refuses to back down – and nearly gets herself and her lover killed in the process.
Who will win this one – and won’t somebody please get Jennifer out of her sterile new home?
There are two types of people in this world. Those that take and those that get took. Lions and lambs. My name is Marla Grayson and I am no lamb. I’m a fucking lioness.
I haven’t gone in too much detail on the old plot because there’s a lot of cat and mouse and you might like to uncover some of it for yourself. I was really looking forward to this one when it popped up on my radar – I’m a Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl stan but I was left a little underwhelmed.
It just doesn’t pack the punch I’d expected and I’m not entirely sure why. On reflection, I think this might be more of a grower with tight performances, a decent premise and a pleasing climax – and like I mentioned, there’s something satisfying about a character, particularly a woman, bucking tradition and displaying ‘atypical’ behaviours. And not growing by the end of our time with her.
While Marla is super feminine and lovely, she’s cold as ice when it comes to business and she’s also very much determined to win, which are usually considered masculine characteristics. I like that.
Maybe I would have liked more insight into her relationship with Fran or more insight into her in general, but it works anyway. As for the other characters, there’s not much about Jennifer or time with her character, while Fran is just a pretty sidekick. Dinklage’s Mafia boss is fun as hell though.
I just don’t think it was really for me.
Rating: 2.5 ripped off grannies out of 5