Four Good Days


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Four Good Days
"Kunis’ performance is raw and ugly in just the way it needs to be." | Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute/Igor Jadue Lillo

“It will be different this time,” says Molly (Mila Kunis) when she arrives at her mother’s door. How many times has she said it before?

Deb (Glenn Close) is hesitant to let her in. She assumes that Molly is just after money. She’s had her heart broken too many times. But this time, as it turns out, it’s possible that the experience really will be different, because of the availability of a new treatment: an opioid antagonist which would inhibit the effects of heroin on the central nervous system, taking away its power over this damaged young woman. There’s just one catch: in order to be able to take it safely, Molly must be get completely sober first. She needs to spend four days without using: four good days.

Molly knows that her only hope of achieving this lies in obtaining her parents’ help. It’s one thing to say this whilst still fairly comfortably under the influence, however – another to cope with being locked in the garage as she begins to go cold turkey, with the intense distress that brings. Too rattled to stick to a single strategy, she veers between trying to get them to trust her and trying to make herself so obnoxious that they will give up on her and let her go. Nevertheless, as the direct influence of the heroin wanes, more of Molly emerges, and a real bond begins to form between her and her mother, giving them both that most dangerous of emotions: hope.

Based on the true story of addict Amanda Wendler and her mother Libby Alexander, this is a much more honest and direct exploration of what heroin can do than most of what we have seen onscreen, and it’s refreshingly shorn of romanticism. Close is solid as ever but lets Kunis, who was bizarrely tipped for Best Supporting Actress in this season’s awards, take centre stage for much of the running time. Kunis’ performance is raw and ugly in just the way it needs to be, yet the chemistry between the two stars lets us see enough of what Molly has been, of what she could be, to keep us with her.

These are four difficult days to watch. For some viewers they will be painfully close to home. Each woman has her own struggle to contend with, but director Rodrigo García keeps the difference clear and there’s no sense of Molly’s struggles being appropriated. Four Good Days is designed to speak directly to those who know this pain, and its wider value stems from what it has to say about the struggle to connect.

Reviewed on: 25 Mar 2022
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Ten years of opioids have left Molly’s life in shambles. A new drug may give her a chance to break free if she is able to stay clean for four days, with the help of her mother Deb, a tough, clear-eyed woman. Their love will be tested to the limits.

Director: Rodrigo García

Writer: Rodrigo García, Eli Saslow

Starring: Glenn Close, Mila Kunis, Stephen Root, Joshua Leonard

Year: 2020

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, Canada


Sundance 2020

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