Amy (Jessica Chastain) is a single mother working as a nurse who also suffers from a life threatening heart condition. If anyone were to discover her secret, she’d be fired from her job and wouldn’t be able to claim health insurance. When Charlie (Eddie Redmayne) arrives on the scene to help on the night shifts, Amy feels unburdened for the first time in a long time. But when patients mysteriously start dying, all fingers are pointing to Charlie and it is up to Amy to find out the truth.
What makes The Good Nurse work so well is its lead stars. Chastain and Redmayne are two of our generation’s best in the business and their performances here were no exception. I am a new fan to Chastain who caught my attention in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, that ultimately led her to win the Oscar. She has become someone whose projects I will continue to check out. As for Redmayne, this was a different territory for him. From the Fantastic Beasts franchise, to The Danish Girl and The Theory of Everything, I didn’t know how I’d feel about him playing a serial killer. He gave Charlie this humanity that almost made you want to care about him.
At the center of the story is the friendship between Amy and Charlie. From the very first time they meet in the ICU, sharing stories of their lives and families over slices of pizza, until the end where Amy begs Charlie to come clean, it is down to the amazing chemistry that Chastain and Redmayne shared which helped make their relationship so realistic. This helped solidify the fact that Amy genuinely wanted Charlie to get help, while alternatively, regardless of how many people Charlie killed, he would have never hurt Amy.
While this movie is pegged as a thriller, I don’t believe this to be the proper description. The foreboding music and dark ambiance did try to give off that vibe, but that’s as far as it went. It was also considered to be slow, yet I have to say that I didn’t have a problem with the pacing. I felt it moved along rather nicely and I appreciated that the investigation started happening sooner rather than later. There actually wasn’t a single moment where I felt bored watching.
Based on a true story, The Good Nurse was one of the better films that I have seen this year. Not only were the performances brilliant, the subject matter was harrowing and left me with many questions. The fact that this actually happened, that we never found out exactly why Charlie did what he did and why the hospitals covered up his crimes instead of just coming forward was quite something.