Mary Nighy only needs to check her social media profiles to see how well her debut feature Alice, Darling has done. .
The actor and director has received a ton of direct messages on Instagram from viewers who want to share their experiences.
It has always been like this, according to Nighy: "Even during the editing, sharing early versions of the film, just seeing how emotional people became. Actually, that's a lot to carry. There is a substantial obligation. ".
In the movie Alice, Darling, Anna Kendrick plays a 30-year-old successful woman who is forced into a relationship with Charlie Carrick's character, Simon. Simon is portrayed by a British actor.
In contrast to the roles she is best known for in comedies like Up in the Air or musicals like Pitch Perfect, Kendrick has received praise for her portrayal of Alice.
When I offered her the part, I was unaware that it was pertinent to her own life, according to Nighy. " .
In interviews for the movie's publicity, Kendrick has discussed her own experiences of being in an emotionally abusive relationship. According to the film's screenwriter Alanna Francis, it was this personal insight that made her the "exact right person" for Alice.
She herself was inspired to write the script by her own experience in a previous relationship, saying, "It was a really productive outlet for me to have to speak to her, and bring some of her experiences.".
The movie explores an emotionally abusive relationship rather than one that is physically violent, much like TV shows like Sharon Horgan's Bad Sisters and Channel 4's I Am Nicola.
This form of abuse is referred to as coercive control by the domestic violence advocacy group Refuge because it involves "a perpetrator using a pattern of behavior over time to exert power and control over a partner.".
In 2015, England and Wales made coercive control illegal.
Francis was, however, tempted to add a scene that displayed evidence of Alice being physically abused in an early draft of the movie.
"If I'm being completely honest, I think the worry that people wouldn't understand affected that draft. The team around me immediately said, "No, we can do the subtle version," and everyone was totally committed to that. ".
Nighy continues, "I think there was a concern about whether or not it could carry the film because it's such a recently diagnosed, understood, and spoken about form of abuse. I firmly believe that it can, too. " .
When Alice's closest friends stage a sort of intervention and whisk her away for a quick getaway, a pivotal line in the movie is spoken.
Alice, who is having a hard time accepting the reality of her relationship, says, "But he doesn't hurt me.".
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 2.4 million adults (1.7 million women and 699,000 men) aged 16 and over experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022, or 5.0 percent of adults (6.9 percent women and 3.0 percent men).
According to a representative for the nonprofit organization Women's Aid, "women in abusive relationships aren't always aware that their relationship is unhealthy. Abusive partners frequently isolate a woman from her friends and support network, where conversations about relationships can often identify when things aren't quite right. " .
"Storylines like this can speak to audiences in a way that we can't, and even though it's fiction, many of the behaviors we see on screen will be representative of what women go through on a daily basis. " .
The majority of the reviews for the movie have been good to average. The film received four stars from Empire's Helen O'Hara, who described it as "a slow-burning drama, almost a thriller, anchored by a faultless performance from Kendrick and punctuated by a quietly monstrous turn from Carrick, as a man who thinks he's entirely reasonable.". However, as the women who awaken Alice and stand with her in the face of the inescapable threat of male violence, it is ultimately the warmth of Mosaku and Horn that sticks in the mind. ".
The three-star review from Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian reads: "There are some edge-of-the-seat moments and interestingly subtle tonal inflexions, though the story spends time on a fabricated subplot about a missing girl, time that might have been better devoted to developing the central thriller storyline. ".
During the pandemic, the movie was shot over the course of 20 days in Toronto and rural Canada.
Nighy claimed that the setting was ideal for filming.
"Being in a very rural area meant that there were no paparazzi. It was therefore private. Additionally, I believe it contributed to greater trust between the heads of departments, myself, and all of the actors. ".
In a conversation with Tom Power for his Q podcast, Kendrick praised the director for fostering a safe environment on set.
"There were times when the camera rehearsals turned into group therapy. The lovely English rose Mary said, "Guys, we're here to shoot a movie," and I think that was the last time I ever saw her. '".
Despite receiving a 43 percent approval rating from moviegoers on Rotten Tomatoes (despite having fewer than 50 verified reviews), Nighy believes that the film's success since its Toronto Film Festival debut last year is evidence that the story has resonated with viewers.
"I was surprised to see so many men come forward. There's a presumption that it's always women, she believes.
It's important for everyone to consider the power dynamics they use in their relationships, regardless of whether they are straight, heterosexual, or male and female.
"The movie aims to spook viewers a little bit. also ask questions. ".
In the UK, a number of streaming services are offering Alice, Darling.
If you have experienced. family violence. assistance and support can be obtained by visiting the. The BBC Action Line.