'I Care a Lot' Ending Explained: Does Marla Die at the End of the Netflix Movie?

I Care a Lot is now airing on Netflix (and on Amazon Prime Video in some territories), meaning that viewers around the world have been watching Marla Grayson (played by Rosamund Pike) and her diabolical dealings. Particularly, there has been a lot of discussion about the ending, in which Marla's rise seems to come to an abrupt ending.

Spoilers ahead.

A little bit of backstory first. Most of the film revolves around Marla, who acts as a conservator for a number of old people, who she falsely represents in the courts as unable to take care of themselves so she can lock them in nursing homes and take over their estates and finances.

I Care a Lot's main plot, however, kicks off after she does this to someone who at first seems like a perfect mark: Jennifer Pieterson (Dianne Wiest), a wealthy woman who seems to have no family at all.

Unfortunately for Marla, she is not who she seems. It is revealed that her son is a notorious gangster (Peter Dinklage), who has changed his mother's identity to protect her, and will do anything to get her out of the home and out of Marla's 'protection.' Anything, of course, including staging Marla's death to look like a drink-driving accident.

i care a lot ending marla dead
'I Care a Lot' seems to end with Marla dead in the arms of her girlfriend. Netflix

She survives this, however, and puts her own plan into action which, in a neat twist, sees the gangster put under a conservatorship run by Marla.

Though this represents a win of sorts, if he stays under her protection Marla will forever have to watch her back for the inevitable revenge he will wreak on her. With this in mind, he declares a truce—she releases his mother from her care and the pair team up to turns her business international using her knowledge of the industry and his global crime contacts.

This seems to work, and we see Marla celebrated on a business show as her business (and bank account balance) continues to grow. After a whole film of being the worst possible person, she teams up with another terrible person to become even more successful.

Except the Netflix and Amazon movie has one final twist up its sleeve. In the first scene of the movie, we saw Marla battling to keep an old woman under her 'care' in court after her son Feldstrom (Macon Blair) protests. The judge rules in Marla's favor, however, leading to the man pledging that he will kill her.

In the final scene of the film, he finally gets the chance, shooting her after doing the interview. We see her shot in the heart, bleeding out in the arms of girlfriend Fran (Eiza González). However, the film does not confirm whether she lives or dies.

There is bad news, however, for viewers hoping for an I Care a Lot 2 and a miraculous recovery for Marla. According to star Rosamund Pike, speaking to USA Today, the character is definitely dead at the end.

She said: "You sort of want to see Marla win. You want to see the giddy heights of success: the wall of wards and then Grayson Guardianship tower blocks going up, and the idea of care homes all over the country with her name on them...People like that get away with it all the time. That is how it goes. And then of course the movie] doesn't let her get away with it.

"In my head, Marla never believed she was going to die...I mean, right until the point that she breathes her last, I think she still thinks she's going to win and she's going to get out of it. I really do."

I Care a Lot is streaming now on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video