Stephen King's A Good Marriage

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Stephen King's A Good Marriage Movie Poster Image
Creepy but underwhelming tale of a truly killer marriage.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

Occasional strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

STEPHEN KING'S A GOOD MARRIAGE is the adaptation of King's novella about Bob and Darcy Anderson (Anthony LaPaglia and Joan Allen), a 50-something couple that, on the surface, has everything going for them: two successful adult kids, a thriving rare coin business, and a stellar reputation in their Maine community. On their 25th anniversary, Bob gives Darcy a pair of gold fish earrings, claiming it's because she's a Pisces. The next day, Bob leaves on a business trip (he's also an accountant), and Darcy finds something extremely disturbing hidden in her garage: a trinket box holding the driver's license of a woman who had just been in the news for being brutally raped and murdered by a suspected serial killer called "Beadie." After Googling everything about Beadie, Darcy goes to bed devastated with the knowledge that her husband is most probably a killer. When Bob returns home early and finds out that Darcy knows the truth, he confesses but then threatens her and convinces her to keep quiet -- if not for them, then for the "safety" of their kids. Will Darcy agree to keep her husband's horrifying secret or take matters into her own hands?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether A Good Marriage is scary. What's frightening about it? What's the appeal of horror movies and TV shows about hidden sociopaths?

  • Discuss the popularity of Stephen King adaptations. Where does A Good Marriage stack up against his most famous adaptations?

  • Do you think Darcy would have been blamed or mistrusted if the truth came out, like Bob said?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love scares

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate