Parents' Guide to

That Good Night

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Family drama has one-sided anti-euthanasia message.

Movie NR 2020 92 minutes
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The story of an old man at the end of his life -- the film prophetically proved to be Hurt's last -- should be a guaranteed tearjerker. But That Good Night is a movie so focused on its moral message that it fails to make room for any genuine emotion. Hurt plays Ralph, a grumpy, mean-spirited man who decides to end his own life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Then Charles Dance appears as some kind of angel, and just like that Ralph is a changed man and suddenly life is great. For such an incredibly complex subject, this one-sided, fairy-tale portrayal comes across as very simplistic.

There's a further tonal shift when it comes to the equally delicate subject of abortion. When Ralph learns that his son Michael (Max Brown) is to become a father, Ralph immediately offers to pay for an abortion. When he's told no, he's suddenly the world's happiest grandfather-to-be. This lack of consistency and sudden gear changes all make for rather ham-fisted and simplistic messaging: Euthanasia is bad. Abortion is bad. The result is a disappointing swan song for Hurt and a movie that rarely looks like anything other than a glossy health insurance commercial.

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