The Good Nurse is a 2022 American drama film starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne as two nurses, one who suspects the other of being responsible of a string of patient deaths. The film is based on the 2013 true-crime book of the same name by Charles Graeber about the serial killer Charles Cullen. It was directed by Tobias Lindholm and also stars Nnamdi Asomugha, Kim Dickens, and Noah Emmerich.
In 1996, a patient admitted to the ICUward of St. Aloysius Hospital, Pennsylvania suffers a seizure. Despite the efforts of the hospital’s staff to resuscitate him, the patient dies.
Seven years later, in 2003, Amy Loughren, a single mother and nurse working night shifts at Parkfield Memorial Hospital, New Jersey, is introduced to Charles Cullen, an experienced nurse recently hired by the hospital as additional help to her shift. Uknown to the hospital’s administrative staff, Amy is suffering from cardiomyopathy; her lack of health insurance, lack of kin and the fear of retribution shoul her condition be revealed, prompts her to keep it a secret. Despite her condition, she has no other choice but to continue working as a nurse for another four months, in order to obtain health insurance to afford a health transplant. Charlie discorvers her condition and agrees to keep it a secret, also stepping in as a caregiver for her two daughters.
When Ana Martinez, a septuagenerian patient amitted to Parkfield mysteriously dies, the hospital’s administrative baord contacts the state police, represented by detectives Danny Baldwin and Tim Braun, to inform themof the incident. Nonetheless, the board, led by Linda Garran, the hospital’s risk manager, downplays it, claiming the death was unintentional and that the reason for reporting it was simply to go by health protocol. Regardless, Baldwin remains distrustful of the board, noting that it had acted to report Martinez’s death seven weeks after it had happened. He instantly zeros in on Charlie, noting that he had been convicted of minor charges in 1995. The duo begin interrogating the hospital’s medical staff; when Amy’s turn comes, she notices that insulin had been administered to Martinez, despite her being a non-diabetic. She is further questioned about Charlie’s character. but she speaks up for him. Braun tries to contact the hospitals where Charlie had previously worked at, but none are willing cooperate. Parkfield finally shares its investigation with the police, but Baldwin notices that it is fragmentary, leading him to snap at Garran for her being unprofessional, causing him and Braun to be banned from the hospital.
When Kelly and Anderson, another ICU patient, suddenly develops an odd cognitive symptoms, Amy discovers that insulin had been given to her. Kelly suffers a seizure and dies, despite Amy’s efforts ro save her. Baldwin and Braun subsequently visit Amy, revealing to her that Charlie had previously worked at nine different hospitals, and that none are willing to talk about him. Baffled, she visitis her friend Lori, a fellow nurse who had previously worked with Charlie at a different hospital. Lori reveals that during Charlie’s tenure, her hospital had dealt with the unfathomable deaths of numerous patients, with the finding of insulin in several of them.
With Redmayne and Chastain being two of the biggest names in film right now, and this being a true crime film and based on a best-selling book, you’d think this would be a really good movie, but it’s far from it. The story is great, the acting is superb, but the whole film is really slow, to the point of being really boring. The book is anything but boring, I couldn’t put it down when it came out, so when I found out there was to be a movie version starring them (and I’m a huge fan of both), I was expecting it to be outstanding and I was extremely disappointed. Not only is this film very boring, there is very little detail about Cullen’s life growing up, like in the book.
When you learn about Cullen’s crimes and how the other hospitals basically “covered them up,” it makes you question hospitals, health care, and the law then and now. Despite the slowness of the film, the plot is still bone chilling, especially learning that the horrific acts went on for years and years. This is a dark film and it has the feel of Ozark, which is another Netflix production and maybe it’s a Netflix thing that all new shows and movies and such from them have to look like this, which is a bit annoying and unoriginal and makes you wish someone would turn a light on.
Eddie Redmayne who plays Charles Cullen, is very soft spoken, except for to Amy’s daughters, which is not like the real Charlie, who is very talkative to most everyone. Ed goes a little broader in the final scesn but, he’s earned it, as for what he has been in up to that part. Jessica Chastain who plays Amy Loughren, is very shy, like the real Amy. Both Eddie and Jessica are great in their roles, but that may be the only awards this film wins, because I’ll be shocked if it wins Best Picture.
The film doesn’t go into nearly as much detail about Cullen’s crimes, life, and upbringing, but it does go into a good ammount of detail during the trials. Nnamdi Asomugha does a fine job as Danny Baldwin, Kim Dickens is really good as Linda Garran, and Noah Emmerich does a fine job as Tim Braun.
Had this film had more light and didn’t feel so Ozark-y or like an Investigative Discovery special or Dateline episode, it would have been more enjoyable. There’s not much gore or violence, which is odd for a crime film. You do see several sick people with scars and peeling skin and the interrogations scenes can be disturbing. There is lots of of cursing, but no drinking, smoking, or sex. Naked dead bodies are shown full frontal.
Overall, not one of Netflix’s best films. Go for the book, and skip this one. 18+ 2/5
2 thoughts on “The Good Nurse (2022)”
I’m not familiar with the book, but you’ve written a very good review. I’m tempted to heed your advice and look for the book. Thanks.