Toronto, Sep 14 (EFE).- American actress Anna Kendrick says of “Alice, Darling,” a thriller about a woman in an abusive relationship that had its world premiere over the weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival, that it explores a subject she relates to personally and brought her feelings of vulnerability to the surface.
“It’s very personal. It’s probably the most personal, the most intimate, movie that I’ve done,” she said in an interview with Efe in Toronto.
Kendrick also is one of the executive producers of the film, which was written by Alanna Francis (“The Rest of Us”) and directed by English first-time filmmaker Mary Nighy, daughter of British actors Bill Nighy and Diana Quick.
The 37-year-old actress plays the role of a young woman, Alice, who suffers constant psychological manipulation at the hands of her boyfriend and whose only source of support are her two best friends.
The recipient of a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role in the 2009 film “Up in the Air,” Kendrick revealed ahead of Sunday’s world premiere her own experience with emotional and psychological abuse.
She said she decided to participate in Nighy’s film, which was shot entirely in the Greater Toronto Area, because the plot differed from that of many other films about abusive relationships and reminded her of her own ordeal.
The camera was positioned very near the actors during the shooting, according to the actress, who said that increased her sense of vulnerability.
“It’s such a strange combination of art and technology. And so sometimes there would be these very literal moments where (cinematographer Mike McLaughlin) would be so close to me … and it would just feel so vulnerable,” she said.
Those ultra-close-ups required a great deal of trust on her part that “everybody was working toward the same thing,” said Kendrick. “It feels like you’re really exposing parts of yourself that make you want to hide.”
The personal nature of Francis’s screenplay had the effect of turning the film set into a sort of group therapy session, the actress said.
“The really magical thing was that the way that Alanna wrote the movie meant that you could feel how much she was putting herself and her own experience in. And it weirdly ended up meaning that so many people on the set ended up sharing their stories,” Kendrick said.
The actress said of “Alice, Darling” that it is a tricky film to describe because it is “so small and emotional and internal.”
“Alice is in a space where she’s not sure what’s happening in her life, not sure what’s happening in her relationship. She goes for a kind of girls’ trip, and her two friends are slowly – sometimes clumsily – trying to pull her back into the real world, back into reality, away from this very controlling relationship that she’s in,” Kendrick said.
Although in the film Alice is psychologically manipulated by her boyfriend, the actress stressed that psychological abuse and controlling relationships are not exclusive to men or women.
“I think that this kind of abuse, well any kind of abuse, really knows no gender. And this kind is really tricky to pull apart,” Kendrick said. “I wasn’t thinking about it as specifically what I think that men should take away or women should take away because I think that if there were men who watched the movie and saw themselves reflected in Alice they deserve to explore that and heal from that.”
“So I hope that it bring up space for people to ask themselves those questions regardless of gender,” she added. EFE