The Good Nurse Movie Review: Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne power a compellingly melancholic film
This is perhaps not the best film to consume around the holiday season, but the end offers some respite when it reminds you that no matter your circumstances, hope remains afloat
In many ways, the title, The Good Nurse, is misleading. For all the obvious reasons, it gives the impression that one is in for an emotional medical drama about a good, diligent nurse helping a terminally ill patient find hope. It is, however, anything but. In fact, there’s barely a light-hearted moment to offer relief from the desolate mood it wraps you in.
Director: Tobias Lindholm
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne
Streaming on: Netflix
In The Good Nurse, we navigate through the despondency of the Parkfield Memorial Hospital, New Jersey—where the majority of the film is set—along with Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain). A nurse at the facility, she is diagnosed with a fatal heart condition and needs a heart transplant to survive, but in order to become eligible for insurance, she has to work for a few more weeks, even as her health continues to deteriorate. But this is not what the film is about. When a senior nurse named Charlie (Eddie Redmayne) is appointed, the situation in the hospital gets more mysterious.
Inspired by true events, the film is based on the story of how Amy helped the police catch hold of fellow nurse and serial killer Charlie. A large part of the film is also adapted from American journalist Charles Graeber’s book, The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder.
The film, deftly complemented by Jody Lee Lipes’s muted, cold frames, superbly captures the disparity and pain that waft in the dimly lit corridors of this hospital. There is a sense of unease that pervades this film, even though the camera refuses to sensationalise the suffering of patients. The discomfort it manages to inject through the mood does the job, while able performances from Chastain and Redmayne—both essaying roles that are right up their alley—as lone humans coping with massive issues in their personal lives, do the rest.
It is when the screenplay ventures into the thriller zone, by introducing two cardboard cutouts posing as detectives, that The Good Nurse falls flat, flinging you out of a painstakingly created atmosphere. Thankfully, this doesn’t last too long.
This is perhaps not the best film to consume around the holiday season, but the end offers some respite when it reminds you that no matter your circumstances, hope remains afloat. That it’s based on a true story helps too.