FOUR GOOD DAYS. (2020) DIRECTED BY RODRIGO GARCIA. SCREENPLAY BY RODRIGO GARCIA AND ELI SASLOW.
BASED ON ‘WHO’S AMANDA? A STORY OF TRUTH, LIES AND AN AMERICAN ADDICTION’ BY PULITZER-PRIZE-WINNING WRITER, ELI SASLOW.
STARRING MILA KUNIS AND GLENN CLOSE.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This is a fantastic film for mothers and daughters to watch together. Myself and my own daughter were positively glued to it yesterday afternoon (Sunday). That’s not to say that men and other folks can’t enjoy it too; it’s just that it’s such a brilliant mother-daughter picture, with Glenn Close and Mila Kunis each giving phenomenal performances as, guess what, a mother and daughter, lol.
Glenn Close of FATAL ATTRACTION fame plays Deb, the mom. She lives in suburban America and works as a massage therapist to rich wimmins. Deb’s daughter Molly (Mila Kunis, who plays Meg in FAMILY GUY) has just turned up on Deb’s doorstep like a bad penny. She is absolutely rotten with drugs, the really bad kind.
She begs her mum to let her come back home to allegedly ‘get clean,’ but Molly has no fewer than fourteen failed attempts at de-toxing under her belt already, and we get the feeling that Deb has been right alongside her the whole time. So: Go away, Molly. Come back when you’re clean. We’ve been through all this before, remember? Come back when you’re clean.
Molly has all but ruined her mum’s life with her nonsense. As a heroin addict, she has lied to her mother, stolen from her mother’s purse, nicked her stepdad’s guitars to sell for drugs money, caused a divide between her mum and her stepdad and gotten her two young children taken away from her. I’m pretty sure that Molly hasn’t forgotten about this category of woe.
But Molly has her mother’s stubbornness. If you let me in, Mom, I swear that this time will be different. I really mean it about wanting to get clean this time. Well, her poor mother’s not made of stone. Deb agrees- reluctantly- to let Molly come home, but this absolutely, definitely has got to be the last attempt at ‘getting clean.’ It will be Molly’s fifteenth stab at it.
Deb is heartbroken at the state of Molly. Her lovely teeth have all rotted away. Her bleached blonde hair is so dry it’s a fire hazard. She’s stick-thin. Her once-beautiful face is covered in ugly sores.
Molly hasn’t seen her two children, who are living with their dad, in God-knows-how-long. Everything she’s ever had, she’s lost. Self-esteem, self-confidence, pride in herself, another child which she carried to term and then gave up for adoption. It’s a tragic old story.
Deb helps Molly to go ‘cold turkey’ at home. Deb’s husband, Molly’s stepfather, stays mostly out of it, having been robbed blind by a drug-addled Molly in the past. For Deb, it’s a long few days, full of watching, and waiting, and worrying, and wondering. It’s cool the way the things all started with a ‘w,’ isn’t it…? Lol.
Molly’s doctor tells her something electrifying. If Molly can stay drug-free for only four more days- four good days- he will give her a drug called an opioid antagonist, which will help her body to reject any highs for up to a month. After that she can take the tablet again, and for however many times she needs it after that. (I think that’s how it works!)
Can Molly stay clean for four more days? She and her mum are both doubtful, but to think past this weekend is to be able to imagine a future without drugs blighting all their lives. It’s looking grim there for a while, especially when Molly decides she’s going to look up an old friend who just so happens to live in a crack den/flop house. Can Molly resist temptation? Can Deb hold it together? Will these ladies have their four good days? We can only wait and see, folks. Wait and see…
The story is based on the true-life goings-on of Amanda Wendler and Libby Alexander, Molly and Deb respectively. Glenn Close is still acting up a storm at seventy-five, and I was so impressed at Mila Kunis’s willingness to make herself look truly down-and-out for the role of an habitual junkie. Terrific film, doesn’t just have to be watched by mother-daughter combos! Watch it by yourself or with a roomful of people, it’s a cracking piece of work whatever way you look at it.
PS, having just done my online researches, I’ve discovered that the film’s director, Rodrigo Garcia, is actually the son of Nobel-prize-winning literary royalty, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. GGM penned works such as the famous One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), and was referred to on his death in 2014 as ‘the greatest Colombian who ever lived.’ It was the then President of Colombia who said this, by the way, not some mad randomer.
Rodrigo’s mum was a stunningly beautiful woman, known for being the supportive woman behind Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I wonder if it was hard going for Rodrigo, growing up in the shadow of an internationally famous dad? I did own One Hundred Years of Solitude at one point, but I gave it away to charity without reading it because I thought it looked a bit hard, lol. You know, literary and that. And how right I was!
Anyway, Rodrigo needn’t worry about having to live up to his famous Pops. If even half his oeuvres are as good as FOUR GOOD DAYS, he’s doing all right.