Alice, Darling parents guide

Alice, Darling Parent Guide

Slow and scary, this film features a protagonist who gradually realizes that her romantic relationship is unhealthy.

Overall C-

Theaters: A woman trapped in an abusive relationship gains perspective and strength while on a trip with friends.

Release date February 3, 2023

Violence B
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is Alice, Darling rated R? The MPAA rated Alice, Darling R for language and some sexual content.

Run Time: 90 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Alice and Simon (Anna Kendrick and Charlie Carrick) have a close romantic relationship. Perhaps too close. Simon refers to Alice as “my beautiful girl” and texts her constantly, while discouraging her from spending time with anyone else. Alice devotes herself to making Simon happy, cheering him up when he’s down, and doing everything she can to be the perfect partner. All that perfection has a cost, though. Alice is becoming increasingly jittery and is so tense she rips her hair out by the roots.

On a rare girls’ night out, Alice’s best friends invite her to a week away. Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku) is going to use her parents’ cabin for a birthday celebration for Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and is planning a series of celebratory and relaxing activities. Alice equivocates, unsure if she can get away from Simon for a week. Finally, she agrees to come and tells Simon that she will be attending an out-of-town sales conference.

Alice, Darling is not a horror movie, but it’s a genuinely frightening movie to watch. Anyone who has ever witnessed a friend or relative struggle in an emotionally abusive relationship will recognize all the red flags. It’s genuinely upsetting to see Alice suffer in a relationship that corrodes her self esteem and consumes her with anxiety. It’s almost like she’s an addict: at some level she recognizes that being with Simon is damaging but she can’t seem to tear herself away.

Director Mary Nighy makes sure she squeezes out the maximum amount of tension in the story. The soundscape is buzzing, percussive, and ominous but most disturbing is Alice’s breathing. When her anxiety rises and panic looms, Alice starts hyperventilating and that sound becomes increasingly stressful for the audience. I found my own breathing racing along with hers and had to force myself to take deep breaths and calm down. This is not a relaxing movie for anyone, at any time. If you have a history with abuse, this film could be deeply distressing so keep that in mind before you buy a ticket.

There is other disturbing content in the movie, primarily in the area of sex. There are some detailed sex scenes in the film, although none of them involve explicit nudity. Simon repeatedly initiates sex and Alice responds with a tight smile, but her face closes in as his embrace tightens. Her consent is clearly impaired by the issues in their relationship. Other negative content in the movie includes a fair bit of swearing (with 19 sexual expletives) and several scenes of alcohol consumption. This production has a Restricted rating and that is appropriate.

Stacked up against the negatives are the things Alice, Darling does well. Chief among those is the performance of Anna Kendrick in the lead role. She has an amazing ability to figuratively mask her face, to block out all emotions, except for tension, which radiates from her. When she’s frightened or anxious, every muscle in her face tightens up, and she looks brittle enough to break in a breeze. It’s an excellent performance, made poignant by her public discussion of a past abusive relationship. The movie also does a fine job of illuminating the power of female friendships. Tess and Sophie are concerned about Alice but don’t preach; instead, they ask gentle questions and listen without judgment as Alice begins to question her own perspectives. Alice, Darling is not an entertaining movie, but it provides insight into a painful and all-too-common problem. If a movie isn’t entertaining, it should at least be informative and this one fits the bill.

Directed by Mary Nighy. Starring Anna Kendrick, Wunmi Mosaku, Kaniehtiio Horn. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release February 3, 2023. Updated

Alice, Darling
Rating & Content Info

Why is Alice, Darling rated R? Alice, Darling is rated R by the MPAA for language and some sexual content.

Violence: A woman pulls tufts of hair out of her head. A search party looks for a missing girl who is later reported as dead. A man shouts at a woman and tries to intimidate her. A person puts an axe through a car window.
Sexual Content: A woman repeatedly takes pictures of her cleavage for her boyfriend. A man and woman are shown kissing in the shower and sex is strongly implied: the shower glass is frosted but he is seen holding her from behind and thrusting. There’s a brief scene of implied sex. Women mention sexual climax and sex dreams. A woman is guilted into having sex. A woman is seen in a bathtub but without explicit nudity. Women go skinny dipping but are only seen from the shoulders up. A woman straddles a man and simulates sex although she is clothed and he is wearing underwear: she appears unhappy with the activity. A woman strips down to her underwear and swims.
Profanity: There are approximately 40 swear words in the movie, including 14 terms of deity, 19 sexual expletives, and seven scatological curses. A couple of crude terms for male and sexual anatomy are also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   Adults drink alcohol in restaurants and at social events. On one occasion, main characters get drunk. An adult is briefly seen smoking a cigarette.

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Alice, Darling Parents' Guide

How do you identify emotionally abusive relationships? If you or someone you care about is trapped in an abusive relationship, what options or aids are available to you?

Many communities have support services for people coping with domestic abuse. These national websites provide links to help lines in regional and local jurisdictions.

Wikipedia: List of domestic violence hotlines

US Department of Health & Human Services: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Government of Canada: Find family violence resources and services in your area

Refuge (UK): National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Home Video

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In Herself,an Irish mother and her two children struggle to find housing after she leaves her abusive husband.

Abusive relationships inspire plots in horror movies Monstrousand Invisible Woman.