The Good Son (1993)

R   |    |  Drama, Thriller

The Good Son (1993) Poster

A young boy stays with his aunt and uncle and befriends his cousin, a boy of the same age who begins showing increasing signs of violent and psychopathic behavior.




  • Elijah Wood at an event for The Good Son (1993)
  • Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son (1993)
  • Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood in The Good Son (1993)
  • Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood in The Good Son (1993)
  • Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood in The Good Son (1993)
  • Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood in The Good Son (1993)

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23 July 1999 | Spleen
| A good sign
In many ways this is just a standard thriller. How I loathe the word "thriller". It suggests roller-coasters; and the genre it denotes, at its best, deals in quiet tension. Where was I? Yes: standard thriller. A is really an evil person, intent on performing great harm in the future; B knows this but can't convince anyone else. I heard that sigh. But make A and B children, on the verge of adolescence, and not only is this tired formula invigorated, but it makes a great deal more sense. (Especially if B is in the slightly awkward position of a cousin on an extended visit.) The creaky old scenes where B goes to the police and either he is strangely incoherent or the police are strangely obtuse, are gone. There is now a perfectly good reason why B can't go to the police, or indeed anyone. Nor is there anything strange about the obtuseness of A's parents. The rotten adult seems so commonplace that we scarcely bat an eyelid; the rotten child, who is in fact far more commonplace, we like to pretend doesn't exist.

So I'm glad Hollywood took this step. I also, for the most part, like the way the step has been taken. B has no accomplices - he must battle A alone - and his plight is keenly felt. There's an air of plausibility about it all. Elijah Wood is an unusually good boy, Macaulay Culkin is an unusually bad boy; both look perfectly real. (Wood, who has the harder task, does especially well.)

The climax - or what is meant to be the climax - is HIGHLY contrived. It will probably come as a shock that the writers chose something at once so obvious and so ludicrous. The mood of the audience I saw this with - it may just have been my mood - was one of grudging acceptance, granted only because we had been treated so well in the events leading up to it.

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