“Four Good Days” (2020) is a heart wrenching dramatic film about a mother helping her daughter through heroin and other drug withdraw for the four days before she can get a shot that will help her reset her life.
Deb, played by Glenn Close, has to deal with her addict daughter Molly, played by Mila Kunis, once again coming to her house under false pretenses of “wanting to get clean” when it’s really about scamming for more money or things to steal and sell to get more drugs. After a night of back and forths through the front door Deb agrees to drive her to rehab if she really wants to get clean. It is there we find out that this is a place she’s been through more than a dozen times. She goes in anyway but this time on the way out the doctor mentions a drug which makes it impossible for the system to feel the high of drugs therefore it helps keep them clean. The trick is that you have to be more than a week clean otherwise the residual drug effects in your will come crashing down instantly which could lead to system shock and death. So Deb once again tries to help her daughter through these fraught additional three days.
I have been fortunate enough to not have substance abuse problems affect me or a direct family member. I have only gotten a brief glimpse of what it is like through reading about it or watching movies like this. Most of the movies, or characters in the movies, that come to mind though are about the fall part of the process. I’m specifically thinking of Requiem for a Dream (2000) and The Basketball Diaries (1995). While those cautionary tales provide there own insight into the dangers of drugs they at best skip the hard recovery part. There are some scenes of the immediate withdraw effect. Some other movies have dealt with the longer term struggle of relapse, like Pookie character played by Chris Rock in New Jack City. This one really focuses on the more subtle aspects and the easy trip back into it. They even had a scene where the then recently clean Molly gives a lecture to a high school health class and one of the student says the parenthetical, “I just wouldn’t let myself get like that.” As if it were so easy!
Still because the movie tried to compress a lot of side stories into it all at once they create some bizarre timelines. This happens over three days, really two. In that time we go from just out of rehab and dealing with that to giving a conversation to a class on “being clean” to an obviously stupid idea by the Molly character being followed which leads her to relapse. I get that they are doing some of it to create opportunities for exposition etc. but it just comes across as totally irresponsible activity on the part of the people who not only should but do know better. We know that because of precautions they have already been observed doing for far more benign things. When they mention the wonder drug in the beginning they state the danger of it if taken with drugs still in your system. So of course you saw that with the potential relapse that that was where they were going to go. But (spoiler) she doesn’t die. And four months later everything is all better.
It was still a movie worth watching but I think if they cut some of the unnecessary impacted stories it would have been more enjoyable for me. I’m still going to give it 6/10.