In Brief: Two great performances punctuate this difficult movie about heroin addiction and the relationship of a mother and her daughter.
Four Good Days and two great actresses.
There’s a knock at the door. It’s insistent. Pounding. Demanding. Knock. Knock. Knock. Softer then louder and then louder again.
Glenn Close plays Deb. She peeks through the window and sees her daughter Molly leaning against the door. Pounding. Hammering. Begging for her to open. At issue is the life of an estranged and heroin-addicted daughter.
Who can blame her for being cautious? Deb and her husband, Chris have fallen victim to her schemes in the past. Jewelry disappears. Guitars are stolen and hawked. Cries of, “I’ll do anything” mean nothing.
Loud knocking on the door jolts Deb back to reality. Cracking the door, she tells Molly to go away. Get lost. Disappear. We’re done with your scheming. Been there. Done that. Done with it all.
There’s the cry. It seems sincere. Is this time for real? A mother’s hope. The love of a parent overwhelms past experiences and Deb lets Molly inside and back into her life. Thus the title, Four Good Days .
Molly is played by Mila Kuis. Ironically, she did both of the Bad Moms films in 2016 and 2017. She played a good mom in both films. Kunis also picked up a Golden Globe supporting part nomination in 2011 for Black Swan.
The lady — when given a chance — can act. Pairing her with Close is inspired. Credit writer/director, Rodrigo Garcia (who directed Close in Albert Nobbs) for giving the two actresses the space needed to make your movie experience credible.
And it is.
Credit also goes to co-writer Eli Saslow. The film is loosely based on a Washington Post article he authored in 2016 about a Michigan woman whose daughter had a decade-long crush on heroin.
As you expect, those four days aren’t good. For mom and daughter they are better than past experiences but — still — there is mistrust and past disappointments. They haunt every conversation. Disappointment is on both sides. Deb has issues and in ways let Molly down. Big time.
Blended into the story is a mother’s hope and a mother’s trust.
Molly needs to stay clean for a week so she can get a shot that will prevent her from being able to use opiates like heroin. It takes away the heroin high. She’s been without the drug for three days. Mom has to keep her straight for four more.
This one is a roller coaster of a ride. Up and down it goes. The intensity at times makes you want to go take a relaxer of your own. The message of the movie keeps you glued to the screen and helps decide to not take that step.
Kudos to Four Good Days . It gives you a better than normal picture of the pain of addiction and the pain of the parent of an addict. Credit for that goes to the performances of Close and Kunis.
Switching gears. I’m an addict. Clean and sober for 35-years. This kind of a movie often seems forced and scenes have a set-up feel that aren’t sincere, nor do they seem close to reality. Addition is hard. Ugly. Getting rid of drug demons is even harder. It’s harder than what you’ll ever see in a movie.
That includes this one.
But, again, this one — more than most — gets you closer to the real picture. Unfortunately, in real life some of you are already way too familiar with what all this looks like.
Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Stars: Mila Kunis, Glenn Close, Stephen Root, Carla Gallo, Joshua Leonard, Rebecca Field
Rated R for language, mature themes and drug use. Two great performances from two great actresses locks this in as a very good study of the impact of addiction on a family. Give this one a Friday Flicks with Gary 4 on the 0 to 5 scale.
You can see Four Good Days at a number of local theaters.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.