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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie drives home the fact that you can't ever know everything about another person, even someone you've lived with for 25 years.
Positive Role Models
These are deeply flawed characters, but the movie shows how even killers have a "human" side to them -- and, conversely, how otherwise law-abiding people can be driven to kill.
Violence & Scariness
News clips about a serial killer's murders; close-ups of crime photos, all of dead women; and a televised horror movie that scares a character a couple of times. Beadie is shown tracking and following women he's going to murder, but the deaths aren't shown. Another murder is detailed from start to finish, but no weapons are used (a person is pushed off the stairs and then smothered when they survive the fall). Emotional/marital abuse.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A passionate kiss, some over-the-clothes groping, and a lengthy scene of marital sex early in the film. No frontal nudity, but the woman's bare back is shown, and there are realistic sex noises.
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Occasional strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Brands featured include Samsung, Apple, Tootsie Roll, and Chevy Blazer.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at a couple of parties. Darcy takes sleeping/anxiety pills.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Stephen King's A Good Marriage is a creepy horror thriller based on the prolific author's novella, which he adapted himself into the film's screenplay. Since the movie follows a 50-something married couple instead of young adults, it's unlikely to appeal to teens unless they're already big King fans. There are some mature themes and a few violent scenes -- including close-ups of crime photographs showing murdered women, moments of a man following women he's going to kill (the actual murders take place off camera), and one murder that's staged like an accident. The language is occasionally salty ("f--k," "s--t"), but it's the violence, emotional/marital abuse, and sex that make this too mature for younger audiences. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Most of the movie is just OK, not get-under-your-skin scary (The Shining, Carrie) or unforgettable (The Green Mile and Shawshank). A Good Marriage is the first page-to-screen adaptation of King's work that he's adapted himself since Pet Sematary, and the horror master keeps the details of his characters' idiosyncrasies high (Bob prefers finding rare pennies in his change to paying for them; Darcy has a thing for eating Tootsie Rolls; Bob leaves little notes for Darcy tucked around the house), so the marriage feels realistic and satisfying -- that is, until Darcy figures out that her beloved is a wanted serial killer. That makes the movie feel like a domestic-drama TV movie -- the kind where the wife discovers her husband is really a bigamist/white-collar criminal/fraud/etc.
Allen does the best she can to transform into an emotionally tortured, frightened wife pretending that she can deal with her husband's horrific history, and LaPaglia lets himself get comfortable with crazed looks and quiet terror. Since the audience knows from the opening scene that Bob is a creepy stalker, it's Darcy's decisions after finding out that her husband's a killer that should be fascinating. And a few scenes are gripping, as Darcy descends into darkness to move forward with her life. Allen is such an accomplished actress that she manages to make Darcy more than a clueless housewife.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.