Based on the 2010 novella of the same name by Stephen King, A Good Marriage is a straightforward film. With few, if any twists and turns, the only plot twists being once that are blatant and easily predictable. That said, I still liked this movie, Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia do a great job with the material, portraying their characters as both believable and sympathetic. Much of the films run time is dedicated not to the violence, but the emotional repercussions felt by Joan Allen’s character Darcy. I find myself in agreeance with most critiques of this film, in that it falls flat and fails to live up to Kings ability’s as an immersive storyteller.
A Good Marriage tells the story of Darcy Anderson (Joan Allen) and her discovery after twenty-five years of marriage, that Bob Anderson (Anthony LaPaglia), her husband and father of their two children, Petra (Kristen Connolly) and Donnie (Theo Stockman) is a widely feared serial killer known as Beadie. While searching for batteries in the garage while Bob is away on business, Darcy comes across a small box made by their daughter for Bob as a gift by their daughter stashed away in a hidden cubby in the wall. Inside she finds Beadie’s latest victims ID and general wallet card stuff stored away. While talking with Darcy, Bob notices something is up and returns home and discovers that Darcy has discovered his secret. The two talk and Bob agrees to stop his extracurricular murderous actives, while stating that he would never let his alter ego Beadie hurt her…
The rest of the film just a slow build up going just about exactly where you think it would go. But who knows, maybe A Good Marriage will surprise you. The premise is incredibly solid, which is expected given the source material. The main issue is the films incredibly mute tone. Bob never came off as dangerous, sure we hear about the things he’s done. But that’s not the light we see him in, given that is the basis of the film, he’s supposed to be mild-mannered. But regardless, while Anthony LaPaglia does do a great job, I never find him threatening.
In fact, I really liked all the acting in this film, with the star of the hour (actually hour and forty-two minutes) is most certainly Stephen Lang, who in my opinion blew everyone else out of the water. I like LaPaglia and Allen in this film, but I love Stephen Lang here. It’s a pity that he doesn’t make a real appearance until very close to the end of the film.
Honestly, my only beef with this film is the pacing. I was just too slow, with nothing ever feeling pressing. I tend to dislike films that feel longer than they are. Sure, once in a while you get a film that feels like it takes forever and it’s still great, looking at you Dances With Wolves. But A Good Marriage isn’t one of these occasions.
Final thoughts, meh. It’s worth a watch. At the time of writing this A Good Marriage is on Netflix and if you have the hour and forty-two minutes to spend A Good Marriage is worth the investment. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s worth hunting down. 7/10