Alice, Darling is an American/Canadian 2022 drama/thriller film that centers around the character, Alice (played by Anna Kendrick). Alice is in a verbally/emotionally abusive relationship with her boyfriend and doesn’t know how to get out or if she wants to get out. She goes on a getaway cottage trip with her friends where she finally gets separation from him. This gives her some clarity and allows her to reflect on her situation. At the same time they are staying at this cottage there is a search for a missing girl in the area. Alice really connects with the girl's story and makes connections between the missing girl and her own life.
I didn’t really like this film and so far it is the only film I have seen at TIFF that I didn’t enjoy. However, I loved seeing Anna Kendrick who I have watched on the big screen since Pitch Perfect and the Q and A was really cool too. I liked that the film was shot in Toronto and not disguised as another city. You see the streetcar go by in the restaurant, and it's very recognizable as Toronto. I really connected with the scenes at the cottage on the lake, since I’ve grown up going to cottages just like that in Muskoka, Ontario.
I didn’t like the flow of this film at all and it didn’t have a strong ending. The whole film has this build-up to something big that never happens. The film just kind of ends. You leave the film expecting more and honestly confused. This film feels like it was on the right track but they just didn’t go deep enough. It's really open-ended where you don’t know what's going to happen to the characters once they go home. In a film like this where the main character is going through so much and has to return to a broken home with an abusive spouse, you want to see where she ends up in life. Does life get better for her? Does she leave him for good? Instead, you have no idea what happened to her, there is no happy or even sad ending... it just feels incomplete.
There are a lot of strange symbolism or shots that just seem random and unnecessary. There is a shot of just a bug on a windowsill with little to no connection to anything in the film. There is also a scene where she picks up this lip balm off the ground and then uses it. I think the idea is that she is placing herself in the shoes of the missing girl in the area as a “this can be me if I don’t leave this situation” type thing but it just feels out of place and strange. The whole second storyline with the missing girl seems really disconnected from the rest of the story and they don’t go into it enough for it to be effective.
Overall, I didn’t like this film but I really wanted to like it. I like how they were able to bring bigger talent like Anna Kendrick to a Canadian film. I think this will help to draw in a bigger audience to a Canadian project. I just think this film could have been a lot better, and I found it disappointing. I still enjoyed the TIFF experience of it all and it was cool to see the cast, directors, writers, etc. It just wasn't my favourite thing I have seen at the festival.