Released: 30th October
Seen: 4th December
Glenn Close is hitting the point where eventually she’s going to get an Oscar as a “We’re sorry we forgot to give you this back in 1988” gift. She almost got it a few years ago for her role in The Wife, last year she was nominated for Hillbilly Elegy – though thankfully that wasn’t the movie that her work was honoured for – and now with Four Good Days we have another film that probably would be getting her a nomination but probably won’t since it hasn’t got that much press… oh well, maybe when that Sunset Boulevard movie gets out of development hell they’ll give it to her, cos sadly Four Good Days is just too average in general to get much notice.
Four Good Days tells an all too familiar story of addiction and how it can impact more than just the addict. Molly (Mila Kunis) is a heroin addict who desperately wants to get clean, specifically she wants to get clean at home with her mother Deb (Glenn Close) there for support. Sadly, Deb has been hurt too many times by Molly during previous attempts at sobering up and after being robbed a ton of times by Molly, Deb just can’t trust her.
When the two of them learn about a new drug that will make it impossible for Molly to get high off of her drug of choice, therefore meaning she won’t have the cravings for the drug anymore and will hopefully be able to recover, Deb decides to let Molly stay for the few days needed to get her clean enough to handle the drug. Slowly, as Molly keeps trying her best to somehow stay clean, the wall between mother and daughter slowly comes down and Deb tries to help Molly however she can, even though years of broken promises makes their relationship as stressful as possible.
Four Good Days is truly lucky that it put Mila Kunis and Glenn Close together as its leads because it would be lost without them. If there is nothing else good that can be said about this film, it is an absolute showcase of the talents of these two actors. Mila in particular just gives herself over completely to this role and delivers the kind of performance that you don’t really expect from a woman more known for comedies than anything else. She delivers a truly engrossing performance that’s so complete that you know everything this woman has done to get a hit just from looking at her.
Meanwhile Glenn delivers… well, what we expect from Glenn Close, a perfect performance that runs the gamut from quiet subtle moments where you can read every thought in her head to loud moments of fiery outbursts that could make people quake in their boots. Together they have an electric chemistry that carries the film… which is good because the film needs a lot of carrying.
So Four Good Days is based largely off of an article “‘How’s Amanda?’ A story of truth, lies and an American addiction” which is a fascinating read but it also only really delves into the surface level stuff. The movie has the same problem, never really going beyond the surface of the story and hoping the actors can handle the depth (and sure, they can because they’re amazing actors but it’s not fair to rely on them to do all the heavy lifting). The film just doesn’t want to go further than the elements of the article, not bothering with any connective tissue or anything like that. It’s just going through the old familiar motions that other movies about addiction have done.
After a while Four Good Days feels like it’s pulling some punches, you can see them wanting to take this into some darker heavier places but always stopping just shy of the worst moments. This is really noticeable at the end when they do a cut to black and “4 months later” moment right as things are getting heavy. If there’s a truly dark moment it happens off screen or it’s talked about in code but never explored.
Nothing beyond just the surface level is explored, even in dialogue. They can blame the doctors for prescribing the opioids to Molly years ago, we couldn’t dare blame the Sacklers who actually manufacturer the damn drug. We can show Molly at her worst and maybe after all the hard work, but actually showing the hard work that comes after getting the shot is too much. It’s all very surface level and this topic deserves more than that.
The good thing is that Four Good Days is blessed with a pair of great actors who elevate everything to be compulsively watchable, they make a great dramatic pair and bring out the best in each other. You will undoubtedly enjoy watching them work and the film is certainly very watchable… but by the time it’s done, you’ll realise you’ve not only seen all this before in similar movies but that this one just doesn’t go that far into the topic it’s trying to talk about. There’s a reason it’s called Four GOOD Days, not Four Great Days.