Four Good Days (2020)

RODRIGO GARCIA

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA/, 2020. , , . Screenplay by , Rodrigo García, based on the Washington Post article by Eli Saslow and inspired by , . Cinematography by . Produced by , , Rodrigo García, , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

After the middling rewards of Beautiful Boy and Ben Is Back, another My Kid Is On Drugs film attempts to be the final word on the subject with an addicted daughter in place of the sons of the other two examples. is not pleased to open her door one morning and discover her heroin-addicted daughter on her front step, having already told her not to come home until she gets clean, but Kunis, who has been sleeping on the street and has lost all her teeth, begs her to help her finally get the help she needs. Close immediately drives her to rehab where she stays for a few days, after which the doctor informs her that there is an anti-addiction treatment she can take which dampens the effects of getting high and helps users finally beat their urge to use, but she’ll need to be free of drugs for another four days before she can be given it.

Kunis goes home with her mother and they spend the next few days holding on to sanity in the hopes that she’ll make it, which means that Close, who has long made peace with her kid’s commitment to self-destruction, reawakens the hope that things are different this time and things will finally get better. Kunis suffering to get the poison out of her system causes her a great deal of discomfort as she waits out the days in her mother’s garage, chain-smoking and working on a jigsaw puzzle, while Close finds herself unwittingly becoming so invested in things working out that her anxiety shoots through the roof and draws concern from her other daughter (, who plays an Instagram influencer, one of the film’s smattering of false notes) and criticism from both her husband () and Kunis’s father and her ex-husband ().

Close is hard to watch in one of the worst wigs of her entire career, but her performance is as committed and affecting as we have come to expect from her magnificent career, while Kunis gives a great deal of realistic strength to a woman whose soul has seeped out of her body and left her an empty shell. In the interest of creating great drama, though, director Rodrigo Garcia, who has made a career of sensitive stories focusing on women, includes scenes that feel a bit precious to be believed; Kunis runs into an ex-high school teacher who asks her to come speak to her students about her experiences in order to help steer them away from the lure of drugs…exactly what teacher in their right mind would ask someone two days into their recovery to come and fall apart in front of a room of school kids? This film is based on a true story (loosely inspired by the experiences of real life mother and daughter Libby Alexander and Amanda Wendler), so if this really happened then chalk it up to truth being so much stranger than fiction.

There are a few other jerky moments but they are overall in the minority, this is a smart film that cares a great deal about its characters before ending without tying things up neatly in a bow, and despite being wholly miserable and has no surprises to offer anyone who has seen its ilk before, it respects that the process of dealing with the disease of addiction is a hard one with no guarantees.

Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Song (“Somehow You Do”)

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