Movies

‘Four Good Days’ Review: Repairing a Mother-Daughter Relationship

“Four Good Days” deals with the recoveries of two people: a heroin addict and her mother, who has given up on trusting her daughter.

The first scene between Deb (Glenn Close) and Molly (Mila Kunis) establishes the wheedling strategies that Molly has used on Deb before. Molly shows up at Deb’s doorstep, claiming to want to detox at her home; Deb, pained by the interaction, musters the willpower to shut her out. But soon after, she’ll take her in. The four days represent a period during which Molly, with no place else to go, must stay clean: Once the drugs are gone from her system, she can take a monthly shot of naltrexone, which will prevent opiates from delivering a high and make it easier to get clean.

But during the wait, the mother-daughter tension never relents. Deb can’t believe Molly, and Molly can’t regain credibility. If there is something familiar about watching movie stars de-glam themselves for roles (Molly has lost some of her teeth), the toggling gives the actresses something substantial to work with. As a relationship movie, not just for the pair but those around them, “Four Good Days” is more complex than its outward trappings and preachier scenes — like an anguished Molly addressing a high school class — suggest.

The film is based on a 2016 Washington Post article by Eli Saslow, who wrote the screenplay with the director, Rodrigo García. The movie adheres to the crucial points, even if it relocates the characters from greater Detroit to Southern California. It also preserves the story’s power.

Four Good Days
Rated R for drug abuse and its consequences. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. In theaters. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.

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