The Good Son
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Good Son can be found here.

Following the death of his mother, 12-year-old Mark Evans (Elijah Wood) goes to stay with his cousins Henry (Macaulay Culkin) and Connie (Quinn Culkin) while his father is away on a business trip in Tokyo. At first, Henry and Mark have fun together until Henry starts revealing an evil side to his character. When Henry voices his intent to kill Connie, Mark tries to alert his aunt Susan (Wendy Crewson) and his grief counselor (Jacqueline Brookes), but they don't believe him and conclude that it is Mark who is psychologically disturbed.

The Good Son is based on a screenplay written by English novelist/screenwriter Ian MacEwan. However, the movie was subsequently novelized in The Good Son (1993) by American author Todd Strasser.

Most viewers say no and interpret this scene as an attempt on Henry's part to make Mark freak out. Both boys woke up in the middle of night and went down to the fridge to get a snack, and Henry took the opportunity to use it against Mark.

Susan finds Richard's rubber duckie hidden in Henry's shed and confronts him with it. Henry grabs the duck from her hands and tosses it in the well. Later, he suggests that they go for a walk. Susan asks whether he killed Richard, and Henry replies, "What if I did?" When she mentions getting help for him, Henry says that he'd rather be dead than be sent to one of "those" places and runs off. Having seen Henry and Susan walk off together and fearing that Henry intends to kill her, Mark breaks the window in the room where Uncle Wally (Daniel Hugh Kelly) has locked him and runs after them. Henry leads Susan to the top of the cliffs, then hides in the trees. When Susan peers over the edge of the cliff, Henry jumps out and pushes her off. Susan gets caught in some tree branches and is left hanging there. Henry picks up a large rock with the intention of tossing it on Susan, but Mark runs up and tackles Henry to the ground. As Susan makes her way up the cliff wall, Henry and Mark struggle, Henry saying repeatedly, "I'm going to kill you." Susan reaches the top just as Henry and Mark roll off the cliff. Susan is able to grab them both, one boy hanging from each of her arms. As the boys start sliding further and further down Susan's fingers, Henry reminds her that he is her son and that he loves her and asks to be given both of her arms (which would mean dropping Mark to the rocks below). Unable to lift both of the boys to safety, Susan says, "Henry, forgive me", and lets him fall so that she can help Mark. In the final scene, Mark looks out over the red rocks and, in a voiceover, says that he wonders whether Susan would make the same choice if she had it to do over again but admits that he's not about to ask.

Most viewers agree that Mark is the good son and that Henry is evil. However, some viewers oddly maintain that, since the story is told from Mark's point of view, the details could be skewed or presented in his favor. They suggest that Mark planned all along to discredit Henry so that he (Mark) could have Susan as a replacement for his own mother. The dialogue between Henry and Susan and the ending scenes don't seem to support that suggestion, but it's up to each viewer to determine how they wish to interpret the movie. On a side note, some viewers believe that, even though Mark is a good son, the title of the film refers to Henry's farce.

Several scenes showing Macaulay Culkins character dropping a life-like puppet from a bridge, causing a big traffic accident, were censored due to the fear of imitation. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

The Good Son is often compared to The Bad Seed (1956) (remake The Bad Seed (1985)) and Orphan (2009), other movies that feature children who are not the little innocents they seem to be. Similar movies include The Omen (1976) (remake The Omen (2006)), Village of the Damned (1960) (remake Village of the Damned (1995)), and Case 39 (2009). Two movies starring Vera Farminga may be of interest: Joshua (2007) and Orphan.


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