Four Good Days
2021, R, 100 min. Directed by Rodrigo García. Starring Mila Kunis, Glenn Close, Stephen Root, Chad Lindberg, Joshua Leonard.
REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., April 30, 2021
Hitting every mark of convention with a clockwork precision, the addiction/recovery family drama Four Good Days resembles nothing so much as a production assembly line of cliches. Granted, there is a limited repertoire to these stories. The addict hits rock bottom and desperately climbs back up to the family for help. Suspicion, distrust, betrayal, anger, and hope are the emotional strata here, here being the perfectly curated suburbia of Deb (Close) and her husband Chris (Root), surrounded by the all too familiar signifiers of white, middle-class, semi-retired coziness. He fiddles around with his guitar collection, she enjoys games of solitaire on her tablet with a side of white wine. But what is that knocking, who could be at the door, disrupting this blissful quiescence of twilight harmony? Oh, it’s just Molly (Kunis), the heroin addict daughter, neither seen nor heard from in quite some time. Has she come to further appropriate valuable items with which to slake her dependency? She has not, but rather has finally vowed to get the help she desperately needs.
After the requisite skepticism and tenuous negotiations of shelter, Deb takes Molly to detox (for the 14th time), and then to a doctor who suggests a treatment involving opiate antagonists, which would negate the effects of the heroin on Molly’s body. However, Molly must be clean in order to receive this remedy: If not, the consequences could be fatal. The fact that it is questionable at best that someone with Molly’s drug history would be even a remotely good candidate for this treatment is never discussed, for where else would the film derive its title and scenario? A succession of blame-game conversations, tentative overtures of reconciliation, and soul-searching from both parties are broken up with scenes of Molly restoring her relationship with her two children and Chris cheerleading Deb on when her faith wavers. My favorite scene, however, is Deb frantically tearing through a trap house searching for Molly, who is trying to help a friend. As the camera veers wildly through rooms of generic junkie activities, Deb loses her shit, and for a second I thought the film was going to veer right into vigilante territory. No such luck, as the film returns to the bland white-punks-on-dope and the mothers who love them.
Both Glenn Close and Mila Kunis are very talented actors, but Four Good Days gives them absolutely nothing interesting to say or do. What the film does give them are two extremely distracting accessories. The “meth mouth” teeth prosthetic Kunis’ character sports not only lazily telegraphs the shame of her heroin addiction, it’s also inaccurate. Close is hampered with a horrendous wig, the hairstyle signaling, above all else, the film’s target audience. This is a film that laboriously relies on these tropes to arrive at its utterly undeserved ending, one that feels so trivial that it’s an affront to the entire recovery community.