It’s been 25 years since the last time Stephen King adapted one of his own works for the big screen. Only he knows why it has taken so long for him to return but my question to him would be why “A Good Marriage”? Of all the things he has written over the years, what was it about this particular story that brought him back to his own cinematic universe? It’s a GOOD story (it appeared in his collection FULL DARK, NO STARS) but it’s not a great one and we all know he has many great ones. While watching the film, that question kept coming back to haunt me and the only explanation I could come up with was he wanted to see Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia elevate his written words. They both seem to slip into their characters and run away with what they have but it never felt like director Peter Askin was able to keep up an intensity or hold the suspense for long, creating an uneven experience for King fans.
Bob (Anthony LaPaglia) and Darcy (Joan Allen) have just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and they couldn’t be happier together. They have raised two amazing children and their relationship appears to still be fresh, acting like teenagers when they’re together. When Bob goes on a business trip, Darcy is left on her own. She accidently discovers a stash of drivers licenses, ones that belonged to women who had been recently murdered. When they talk on the phone, Bob notices the change in her voice and rushes home to confront her. He comes clean to and they make a pact, he will stop killing if she can just let it go. Can a madman give up what drives him and can she hold in a terrifying secret and still look at her husband as she always has? The decisions they make won’t be easy and someone is bound to be hurt in the end.
The pacing of the film hurts the final product but if you can lose yourself in the characters and the performances you might just enjoy this flick. Joan Allen is a powerhouse (and sometimes under-appreciated) actress who drives home a much darker character than I had expected her to be. LaPaglia just seems to be enjoying the hell out of being a psycho. We don’t really see much of him being a psycho and maybe that’s part of the problem. There’s far too much time spent on them being normal and not enough time spent in the black area. Stephen Lang (AVATAR) is great in his minor role as is the rest of the cast. The film should have been great but may they took the title a bit too literal since all the really accomplished was making a GOOD movie (at least it wasn’t bad).