Directed by Mary Nighty, “Alice, Darling” is a simple, straightforward, and impactful story of a girl who was put in shackles by the man she believed to be her soul mate. Anna Kendrick, Kaniehtiio Horn, Wunmi Mosaku, and Charlie Carrick are effortlessly brilliant in their respective roles, and together they have made an already compelling narrative into something that stays with you long after the film has finished. So, let’s see what “Alice, Darling” is all about and the kind of issues our protagonist faces in her life.
‘Alice, Darling’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
We knew something was wrong with Alice the moment we saw her with her friends Sophie and Tess in a restaurant. Anxiety was visible in her expressions and gestures, but what was bothering her exactly, was not known. Sophie was trying her best to strike up a conversation and, more importantly, enjoy the time that they had gotten together. Tess was equally involved, and though she had some unresolved issues with Alice, she had decided to let bygones be bygones. Between the conversations, Alice abruptly got up and went to the washroom, to click a seductive picture of herself and send it to her boyfriend, Simon. Sophie proposed that they would celebrate Tess’ birthday at her house up north, and she told Alice that she was not going to take “no” for an answer.
It was Tess’ 30th birthday, and it had been a long time since the three friends had vacationed together. As soon as Sophie proposed the plan, Alice’s face turned pale, just like a child who knew that she wouldn’t be granted permission by her parents to do something she desperately wanted. But it was weird, as Alice was an independent and grown-up woman, and at that point, one just couldn’t understand what could stop her from meeting her best friends. Alice was constantly checking her notifications with an anxious look on her face. Sophie and Tess didn’t read between the lines, but they found it a bit strange how Alice was reacting. Alice had lied when she said that Simon wanted to invite both of her friends to his gallery opening. She wanted them to be there, and for some reason, she knew that Simon would never want her friends to be around her. Alice had requested that Simon add her friends to the guest list, and then she came and told Sophie and Tess how he wanted them to be there.
One thing was clear from the start: Simon was not the type of guy Alice was describing him as, but we kept our judgments to ourselves because no incident had occurred until that point that could corroborate the theory. On the way back home, Alice looked petrified, as if she had committed a huge blunder and was going to get scolded by a superior. We are introduced to Simon for the very first time when he enters the washroom without consent when Alice is taking a shower. Saying they voluntarily shared an intimate moment would be inaccurate, as Alice was clearly uncomfortable but didn’t say anything because she felt obligated. How trapped Alice felt in the relationship was established through the little details, like the fact that she took her phone with her when she went to the washroom or how nervous she felt when she knew that Simon would not approve of her actions. Alice didn’t have the courage to tell Simon that she wanted to go on an all-girls trip to celebrate Tess’s birthday. Simon had manipulated Alice into believing that she didn’t like the company of her friends and that she was not herself when she was with them.
Alice lied to come for Tess’ birthday, and she was extremely anxious throughout the journey. It all became pretty evident for others as well, as she was zoning in and out of conversations. Alice was unaware about the fact that how much she needed that trip and how much it could help her cause.
‘Alice, Darling’ Ending Explained: Is Alice Able To Get Rid Of Simon? Did She Tell Sophie And Tess The Truth?
Tess and Sophie had started realizing that there was something bothering their friend, but they had no clue that it had already become such a big issue. Alice threw up on the way, and though the friends thought that it was due to motion sickness, in reality, it was her abusive relationship that had started having an impact on her overall wellness. Alice felt guilty when she saw herself with another guy, even in her dreams. Sophie and Tess found it a bit strange that their friend was talking about the ramifications of having an “immoral dream,” and there was an awkward silence where they wanted to say a lot but just kept quiet. Alice kept having these visions about Simon that made her very uncomfortable. Deep down, Alice knew that she had lost her independence long ago, but she still felt compelled to act the way Simon told her to. On the surface, everything was great, and nobody could point out a single flaw. Simon was a loving and caring boyfriend, and nothing seemed wrong with him, but what people didn’t notice was that he had made an invisible chain, and Alice felt coerced to stay within limits prescribed by him. Looking at Alice’s expressions, one knew that texting Simon, sending him pictures, and keeping him updated every other hour was not something that she was doing of her own will. How compelled she felt could be ascertained from the fact that even after she was half asleep, when she saw his text around 2:30 AM, she woke up and replied to him. Alice started her day by doing some cardio and listening to motivational and spiritual podcasts about life fulfillment and satisfaction. Maybe that was a way to keep herself sane, as otherwise, with all the mental torture, things would have gotten out of hand a long time ago.
Simon asked Alice if she could come back a bit early, and if we didn’t know the backstory, it would have felt like a generic message sent by a boyfriend who was missing his girlfriend. But here, Alice felt like it was her duty to go back to him, and she even told Tess and Sophie about her plans. Tess didn’t take it very nicely, and she ended up having an argument with Alice. Alice changed her mind about leaving, but the argument cracked open some old wounds, and amidst all of this, Sophie was trying her best to be the mediator and make her friends reconcile. Hell broke loose when Simon got to know that Alice had lied to him and was vacationing with her friends. Alice once again started packing her bags, but Tess hid her phone and wallet as she wanted to have a conversation with her before she left. Tess had realized that Alice’s low self-esteem had made her into a people-pleaser, and she didn’t have it in her to fight back. They went paddleboarding in the lake, and Alice lost the earrings that Simon had given her. Alice started hyperventilating, and she said some things that made Tess realize that Simon was psychologically abusing and gaslighting her friend. A terrified Alice declared that if Simon found out she was a bad person, he would leave her. Tess realized that Simon heavily influenced her perceptions, and Alice felt that he was justified in doing what he did. Alice didn’t want to believe that her personality had been completely revamped, not because she intended it to, but because her super-dominant boyfriend liked her to be a particular way. Tess told her that it was a big red flag that she couldn’t tell her supposed life partner that she was going out with her friends, but still, Alice felt that it was her fault. Alice had a nervous breakdown, and she shut herself in the bathroom.
When Tess came to check on her the next day, Alice finally said something that she truly wanted: she said that she didn’t want to go back. Alice started opening up, and she told her friends what she had been through. Simon kept tabs on her, and he controlled every aspect of her life. Alice never knew what could make him angry, and that is why she lived under this constant fear where she made sure that she always put up her best behavior. Simon was so efficient in what he did that even after having a meltdown, Alice found ways to not put the blame on him. Sophie told her very clearly that though he might not have physically abused her, the mental torture she had been going through was equivalent to it. From the point where Alice felt paranoid when Tess took her phone, she reached a state where she no longer wanted it. She felt at peace, not knowing if Simon was calling or texting her.
Simon came unannounced to the cottage where the girls were staying. Tess and Sophie couldn’t believe that he could do such a thing, and they saw Alice’s behavior changing almost instantly. Later that night, Simon confronted Alice privately and made her feel sorry for her actions. He told her how unfair she had been by choosing to be with her friends at his expense. Alice, as usual, didn’t have the courage to give him a befitting reply and mostly stayed quiet and kept nodding her head in affirmation like an obedient child. Simon almost forced himself upon her and ended up sharing a very uncomfortable intimate moment. The next day, Alice packed her bags and left with Simon, and that’s when Tess and Sophie realized that she needed the support of her friends to come out of her abusive relationship. Sophie and Tess followed Simon’s car and broke his back windshield mirror. Simon started howling at them, but Sophie stood her ground. She glared at Simon like she was going to devour him, and she held Alice’s hand and told him that she was not going anywhere. An infuriated Simon left in his car, as he couldn’t do anything once Alice made up her mind.
Simon had wrecked Alice in ways no one could imagine, and there were things that were broken which could never be mended. But Alice found the will to live, to look at the brighter side of things, to do things her way, all because her friends took a stand for her when it mattered the most. Like a bird released from a cage, Alice took a dip in the cold water and realized, probably for the first time in a long while, what being liberated felt like.
“Alice, Darling” is a 2023 Drama Thriller film directed by Mary Nighy.