A harrowing reminder of the consequences of drug addiction
Four Good Days tells the story of drug addict Molly (Mila Kunis), a young woman who turns up at her mother’s door asking for help. But as she has a history of stealing and lying, it’s understandable that Deb, her mother (Glenn Close), isn’t that willing to let her daughter back into her home.
After convincing her mum that she is ready to get sober, Deb takes her to a detox clinic where Molly stays for several days. On her release, she is offered an opioid antagonist that is designed to help her on her road to recovery. Before she can take the first shot of this medication, however, she needs to stay off drugs for an additional four days. This is something she believes she can do with the help of her mother who agrees to offer Molly support while she stays at her home.
During Molly’s stay, Deb is understandably suspicious. Every time Molly’s phone rings, Deb is convinced it might be a drug dealer, and when she leaves Molly alone in the house, Deb is constantly worried that her daughter might be stealing or using again.
It’s a situation that many mothers will be familiar with if their children have a history of addiction problems. As such, this movie will probably resonate with them. Those who have struggled with addiction themselves will also identify with some of the situations that Molly faces, such as the moments when she goes through withdrawal and the lack of trust that she finds in others.
But while Four Good Days is a movie that will strike a chord with some, it’s not as strong it could have been. The biggest problem is the sense of familiarity as there have been a large number of other drug addiction dramas before this one. Beautiful Boy and Ben Is Back are two fairly recent examples but there have been lots of others in cinema’s past. This isn’t to say we don’t need another movie to remind us of the plight faced by people like Molly and Deb but Four Good Days would have been better if it had something new to say.
The other issue is the way the movie plays out on screen. While there are several powerful moments, including one scene where Molly reunites with her two young children, there are plenty of other scenes that fail to make the emotional impact that they were probably supposed to. This is partly because they are rushed through to get to the climax of the movie, which itself fails to make much of an impact because several key moments beforehand are underexplored.
Despite these shortcomings, the acting can’t be faulted. Kunis and Close do much to elevate the movie with their strong performances and there are times in the movie when you will feel for both of them. They are totally believable as mother and daughter so even when the script makes some dodgy missteps, the two women are able to keep us invested in the lives of their characters as they embark on an emotional rollercoaster together.
Does Molly manage to stay clean for four days? That would be telling but like her mother, you will be willing her to succeed. There are obstacles in Molly’s way, such as her ex-husband who wants her to procure painkillers for him. She also ventures into a trap house in search of a girl who has called her for help, a place that no recovering addict wants to be as it’s populated by people shooting up and trying to sell drugs to others. When faced with such situations, Molly’s attempts to stay clean are compromised, but as to whether or not she overcomes them or not, you will have to see the movie for yourself or read our Ending Explained article.
I wish the movie was a better one but as it manages to humanise Molly and people like her, it can still be commended. Many people vilify drug addicts without knowing anything about their backgrounds and personal journeys so despite the familiarity of movies like Four Good Days, more need to be put on screen to illustrate the truth about addiction and the struggles faced by addicts. As I suggested, a little more originally wouldn’t go amiss so as to maintain audience interest but at least this movie doesn’t patronise its subjects or their dilemmas.
Four Good Days is available to watch on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK and Hulu in the US. Despite its similarities to movies you may have seen before, it can still be recommended as a reminder of the consequences of drug addiction on the addict and their family members. The screenplay isn’t quite as daring or as impactful as it could have been but thanks to the two central performances, there are still moments of emotional power in this formulaic but occasionally heart-wrenching movie.
Read More: Four Good Days Ending Explained
Verdict - 6.5/10