Movie Review

All Good Things

MPAA Rating: R for drug use, violence, language and some sexuality.

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Suspense Romance Mystery Thriller Drama
Length:
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
December 3, 2010 (NYC)
December 10, 2010 (limited)
DVD: March 29, 2011
Copyright, The Weinstein Company click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Ryan Gosling (David Marks), Kirsten Dunst (Katie McCarthy), Kristen Wiig (Lauren Fleck), Frank Langella (Sanford Marks), Lily Rabe (Deborah Lehrman), more »
Director: Andrew Jarecki
Producer: Groundswell Productions, Hit The Ground Running Films, more »
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

“The perfect love story. Until it became the perfect crime.”

In 1982 the mysterious disappearance of Kathleen McCormack placed her husband, Robert Durst, in the spotlight as the number one suspect. Over the next 21 years, while her disappearance remained unsolved, the life of Robert Durst took him from billion dollar real estate developer, to the life of a cross dressing mute and resulted in his orchestration of the murder of his long time best friend, as well as the death of an elderly neighbor named Morris Black. In 2003, Robert Durst was put on trial for the death of Morris Black, but failed to appear and instead became the first billion dollar fugitive. Durst was eventually found, in Pennsylvania, in a grocery store where he attempted to steal a chicken sandwich, despite several hundred dollars in his wallet and thousands stashed in his rental car. Eventually, Robert is found not guilty of the murder but is sentenced to nine months in jail for the improper disposal of Morris Black’s remains. The details of this story sound like the types of things that Hollywood concocts every day, sadly though, this isn’t a screen play, but real life accounts.

With the names slightly changed, “All Good Things” tells the life story of the Robert Durst inspired character David Marks (Ryan Gosling). We are introduced to him through snippets of childhood moments, just before he meets the character of his future wife Katie (Kirsten Dunst). In a love that seems to blossom so naturally, David and Katie abandon the wealth and controlled life that David’s father Sanford (Frank Langella) wants for David and go after their dreams in Vermont. They open a health food market, which they name All Good Things. They live out their days building a life there together naturally and happily until Sanford finally finds a way to manipulate David back into the family business…

It is from there that things seem to go downhill. An unhappiness rises in David, one which Katie no longer seems to be enough to sustain. Strange ticks and weird behavior evolve into full blown rages, as we follow David through the next three decades of his life.

With nostalgic childhood video footage paving a platform for the film to dive off from, “All Good Things” captures the attention of its audience almost immediately. At first, it is through the tenderness that develops between Katie and David. Even knowing the background of the real life events behind the inspiration of this film, it is easy to forget that “All Good Things” is not a love story. From beginning to end, this film is made with such integrity and heart. Tightly written and beautifully acted, “All Good Things” is a haunting and riveting film, which may quite possibly leave viewers with a sick feeling, as the credits roll.

The New York Times reported that in several brief interviews, Robert Durst confessed that he liked the movie and thought that both Gosling and Dunst did well playing the parts of himself and Kathleen, though that Kirsten Dunst “was pretty much a ringer”. In a time when crime shows make up the majority of primetime television; this is certainly a film (and case) to keep people talking.

Rated “R” for drug use, language, violence, nudity and sexuality—this is a film which definitely earns its rating. That being said, however, very little of those things do not bring something to the film:

  • I’ll start with drug use. The majority of this film takes place in the seventies and eighties. This was a time when marijuana and cocaine were running rampant, especially among the wealthy classes. Though I don’t see this film as advocating drug use, it wouldn’t be an accurate account without somehow working it into the storyline. There are, also, numerous interviews and accounts which testify to drugs being present and regular in the lives of Robert and Kathleen.

  • Objectionable language is present, but in no way controls the dialogue, as so many “R” rated films do, these days.

  • Considering the subject of the film, the violence is tastefully done and mostly off camera. There is one on camera instance of domestic violence, as well as a few off camera scenes. There is the death of a dog implied, as well as its skeletal remains shown later in the film. There is a shot of a dead body with a bloody gunshot wound to the head and a physical fight between David and the elderly neighbor.

  • There are two sex scenes and a shower scene. In the first one, the camera cuts away before anything really happens, and then we see them the following morning. The second scene shows no nudity and is brief, but quite raw and intense. Twice, in the film, we see David in his underwear. Lastly, there is a shower scene with female nudity. The scene is not at all sexual in nature.

There are people who will disagree, but even the nudity felt vital to the storyline. In a film where we see the wife of this violently unstable man give him her love and trust after he has done and asked such horrible things of her*, the shower scene is a raw glimpse into her own story.
(***SPOILER ALERT: Early in their marriage, David requires Katie to have an abortion.***)

While I realize this film is not for everyone, I really found this movie to be quite amazing. Romantically endearing in the beginning, while intense and quite honestly creepy later on, it never managed to drone on or lose my attention. Being tied to such horrific real life events, it is a hard story to deem “good” or “bad,” but whether it is a film that is hated or liked, “All Good Things” is a film that many are not likely to forget.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Movie Critics
…Fascinating. It will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last frame. You go away slack jawed with shock and sated with the chilling bedtime-story elements of a great unsolved mystery novel you can’t put down. The acting is mesmerizing.…
—Rex Reed, NY Observer
…A sharp depiction of human mysteries and the elusiveness of justice that explores the unholy trinity of money, power and privilege. It casts an effective, deepening chill. Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst and Frank Langella all deliver riveting portrayals, with Dunst giving her best screen performance to date.…
—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter/Reuters

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