Return

"Good"

Return Review


An edgy sense of realism makes this back-from-war drama surprisingly engaging, even though it's never as original as we hope it will be. But solid, naturalistic performances and an urgent, intimate approach make it worth a look.

After a tour of duty, Kelli (Cardellini) is home with her husband Mike (Shannon) and their two young daughters. She dives right back into her factory job, but something doesn't feel right. After a couple of setbacks, she discovers that Mike has been having an affair with Cara Lee (Swencionis). And when she has her driving licence taken away and is court-ordered to rehab, Kelli's rebellious streak kicks in. It's there that she meets Bud (Slattery), a jaded fellow war veteran who refuses to play by the rules.

While keeping the camera close to Kelli, Dardenne-style, writer-director Johnson makes the film intensely personal that it's sometimes uncomfortable to watch. Kelli's inner turmoil is somewhat elusive, and yet we see how it emerges into every aspect of her life. Cardellini plays this transparently, never overplaying the drama or punching the emotion, and we feel every wrenching wave of pain that washes over her. It's one thing to endure unspeakable horror in battle, and it's another to find your homelife pulled out from under you.

Essentially, this is all the film has to say, and these same themes have filled cinema screens for a century. It's more observant than revealing, beautifully assembled and told with skill and intelligence. These are universal themes that almost everyone can identify with. Yet like the generic title, the film isn't hugely memorable because Johnson never injects something new. But it's still worth seeing, since Johnson follows the events with such a sharply focussed eye.

The camera rarely strays from close-up angles, usually following Kelli into yet another harrowing encounter or quietly confusing situation. And perhaps the best thing about this film is that it never offers easy explanations of her inner turmoil or simplistic answers to her problems. Instead, it's a rare film that actually lets the questions linger in the air for us to grapple with ourselves. And in this sense, it does offer hope even in its rather downbeat way.



Return

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th February 2012

Box Office USA: $6.7k

Distributed by: Dada Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 31 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Liza Johnson

Producer: Noah Harlan, Ben Howe

Starring: as Kelli, as Bud, as Julie, Emma Rayne Lyle as Jackie, as Ed, as Shannon, as Brooke, as Mrs. Miller, as Mr. Miller, as Mike

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.