Recently, Glenn Close became the record holder for most Oscar loses as an eight-time acting nominee. While “Hillbilly Elegy” failed to earn her the gold as a mother dealing with a drug-addicted daughter, “Four Good Days” is familiar territory.
Close again portrays a mother who has all but given up on an addicted daughter, this time portrayed by Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”). Rodrigo García writes and directs here, and while he’s an under- appreciated director of drama and female leading roles, this isn’t his strongest work.
With so many addiction dramas and stories, a new one needs to find new territory. “Four Good Days” tries; Close’s performance is the real stand-out here, but it doesn’t find new ground on a performance level like “Beautiful Boy,” and it’s motivated by the thriller genre like “Ben is Back.”
“I’ll see you when you are clean,” Deb (Close) shouts through the front door, as her daughter begs to come inside. It’s been nearly two years since Deb has seen her 31-year-old daughter. Molly (Kunis) has been addicted to opioids and drugs for over a decade and has failed detox 14 times.
Molly refuses to vacate the front porch and hope creeps back into Deb’s bitter heart: “If there is anything more relentless than heroin, it’s you.”
After four days in rehab, they see a doctor who presents Molly with an opioid blocker shot, only to be administered following four days of no drug use.
With four untrustworthy and relentless days to come, Molly is finally welcomed back to the home she once knew, and this mother and daughter aim for recovery.
Close is playing a different kind of salty with Deb; she isn’t as animated nor as scene stealing as her role in “Hillbilly Elegy.” While Garcia’s heart is in the right place, a debate exists on whether the screenplay offers misinformation on treatment options for opioid users.
“Four Good Days” isn’t simply a film about drug addiction and recovery — it’s about guilt. The guilt Deb feels about past choices as a wife in a bad marriage and a mother who misses obvious signs are moments when the film is at its best. Close and Kunis are dedicated and believable in their roles as two opposing forces who want the same outcome.
Garcia, who usually has an impressive ensemble of talent in supporting roles, misses that mark here, which could have strengthened the picture overall. Numerous times Deb brings up her ex-husband Dale (Sam Hennings), Molly’s father. We finally get to see him in one brief scene that adds little context to the story, and it could have benefited by a more recognizable name.
Same goes for the scene of Deb and her other daughter. Garcia also is cunning at building the audience’s tears — try watching “Mother & Daughter” without feeling something, or his previous collaboration with Close, “Albert Nobbs.”
It’s actually Diane Warren (a bigger Oscar loser than Close), and Reba McEntire who bring the most emotion in their original song, “Somehow You Do,” that’s played over the credits.
Final Thought: Another solid performance from Close, in another drug-addicted film that struggles to break new ground.