I love movies based on Stephen King books. It doesn’t matter if they’re outdated, I’ll still watch them. I could watch The Stand over and over again. So when I heard that the movie A Good Marriage was now on Netflix, I happily clicked the play button. A Good Marriage is based on the short story by Stephen King with the same name. It’s included in a book of short stories called Full Dark, No Stars. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend you do. It is a great example of King’s knack for creating characters that everyone feels they’ve known forever. His gift for taking ordinary people and tossing them into evil situations leaves readers rubbing their hands together in delight. Now that I’ve loved on the book a little bit, let’s move on to talking about the movie, shall we?
As I said earlier, King’s favorite past time seems to be taking the underdog and involving them in a chess game of brawn and wits. Sometimes they come out of it alive, and sometimes they don’t. A Good Marriage is no exception. In it, the main character, Darcy (Joan Allen), comes to the realization that her husband has secretly been killing women for many years. In the opening sequence, we see Darcy and her husband Bob (Anthony LaPaglia) celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Darcy is completely enamored and in love with her husband, so much so that other people comment on what a perfect marriage the two of them have. This is where Stephen King’s magic comes in to play. Nothing is ever as it seems in King’s world.
One night, while Bob is out of town, Darcy discovers his stash of torture fetish magazines and ID cards of the dead victims. Darcy is no dummy. She immediately suspects her husband is a serial killer. In a frantic state, she runs to her computer and researches the murder cases. After staring at a picture of one of the victims, she realizes the fish earrings her husband had given her for their 25th wedding anniversary is the very same pair that the victim is wearing in the picture. The range of emotion actress Joan Allen portrays in this scene is very interesting. Darcy reaches toward family pictures while crying, perhaps mourning the loss of the husband she thought Bob was. Then not long after, she touches some of Bob’s possessions and unconsciously wipes her hands on her shirt, as if trying to rid herself of Bob’s memory. She even goes through the emotions of picturing how Bob would react to her learning his secret and how the world might think she had known of his actions the whole time. Allen effectively portrays going from heartbroken to terrified in a matter of minutes. The remainder of the film is about what Darcy will or won’t do with the information she has learned. Her life has been turned upside down and there are decisions she must make about how far she is willing to go to preserve the life she has built and the people she loves.
I wouldn’t recommend this movie for people who are expecting blood and gore. It just isn’t that type of film. It’s not necessarily a psychological thriller, either. I would classify it as is a movie with certain characteristics of suspense. We find out early on what Bob has done and the only thing left is to see what Darcy will do. Would I say this is the best Stephen King movie? Definitely not. As a matter of fact, I would recommend The Mist instead of this one if you’re looking for a really good suspenseful and thrilling Stephen King movie. However, I will say this film is one for Stephen King fans to check out simply because it’s one of his stories. Allen and LaPaglia are believable as an older married couple and actually, in the beginning of the movie, you’re rooting for them to be together…until you realize…oh wait this guy likes to order coffee, cry, and toss dead bodies into the woods all while collecting rare coins…oops
You can now stream A Good Marriage on Netflix. Check out the trailer below:
Just in case you’re curious about The Mist, I’ve got you covered there as well. The trailer for that superior film is right here.
Have you seen A Good Marriage or The Mist? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below.