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The Good Son
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Good Son More at IMDbPro »

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61 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

5.6 / 10 doesn't justify hood good this movie really is.

Author: nadir_k04 from Sydney, Australia
7 July 2004

If you search for movies with similar rating on www.imdb.com a movie like Johnny English also has 5.6 / 10 & that is a pretty lame movie, where as this should have something like 7 or 7.5 outta 10. Most of the reviews are all good here, I bet most of the people that have voted here just gave it a bad rating because they either hate Macaulay Culkin or Elijah Wood, their both fine actors. I remember the first time i watched this movie was back in 1995 or something like that when i was about 12 or 13, that was the first time i saw Elijah Wood in a movie & i said to myself that this guys gonna be famous when he grows up. Macaulay Culkin's brilliant psychotic acting in this movie was totally brilliant. Both of these 2 young actors made this movie work, the bridge scene is totally awesome. My mum doesn't really like the ending of the movie, & im sure a lot of other mums won't as well. A great Drama / Thriller, better than most thriller movies of the decade i give this a 9.5 / 10.

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39 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

'Good' movie!

Author: Christopher Smith
16 July 2001

I saw THE GOOD SON on television a while ago and since then I have rented several times. It seems each time it gets more and more thrilling. It's the first movie I've seen where I was actually scared of the bad character, Henry [Macaulay Culkin] and the first movie I've seen where I find myself routing for the good character, Mark [Elijah Wood]. See, normally I don't get too involved in the movies I'm watching, but with THE GOOD SON, it's impossible not to! This is one of Macaulay Culkin's best movies [and one of his last movies].

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34 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

A REAL CLIFF HANGER OF A FLICK !!

10/10
Author: whpratt1 from United States
22 April 2004

This film kept my eyes glued to the screen from beginning to end. Macaulay Culkin,(Henry Evans),"Party Monsters",'03, gave one of his best performances and really showed his great talents which made you hate him through out the entire picture. Henry had to share his home with a young boy who had recently lost his mother and was in deep depression, he was the son of David Morse,(Jack),"Hack",TV Series, 02, who had to leave him with his brothers family. All hell breaks loose after the two young boys get to know each other. If you viewed the film the "Bad Seed", you will have some idea what the story is about. It is a real nail biting film and makes you crazy trying to figure out just how the story will END! If you love Macaulay Culkin, this is his best FILM !

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19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Dark insight into sociopathic children

6/10
Author: Mel J from Dundee, Scotland
27 March 2006

I think part of the reason why 'The Good Son' is barely remembered is because it deals with a side to humanity that no-one really wants to accept in that not all children are sweet little innocents, pure as the driven snow. It's not very comfortable watching a film that shows sociopaths-- people born without the ability to feel guilt and empathise with others-- are born, not made and their dangerous traits are apparent even in childhood. 'The Good Son' revolves around Mark, a motherless boy of twelve who is sent to stay with his Uncle Wallace, Aunt Susan and two cousins, twelve-year-old Henry and six-year-old Connie. At first, Mark revels in the visit that takes his mind off his recent bereavement but he soon starts to realise that Henry is a sociopath whose parents are blind to his dark, violent side. It is a film that pulls no punches in just how malevolent Henry is and how easily he will pick off anyone who dares to interfere with his twisted sense of fun.

Macaulay Culkin was excellent as the angelic-looking Henry whose boyish cuteness hide his true nature and his performance here proves he could have been one of the few child actors who graduated into a successful young adult actor had his personal life not been such a mess. It really was chilling seeing the child I was so used to seeing in comedies being so emotionally cold. But it is Elijah Wood's Mark who gives the film heart. Young Wood, only eleven years old when he filmed this, delivered a great performance as a young boy faced with the awful truth and desperate to stop Henry while juggling his grief over losing his mother. The scene where Mark is convinced Henry has poisoned the food is a perfect example of how Wood portrayed Mark's desperation, hysteria and helplessness in the face of his cousin's evil.

However, one of the flaws of the film is that is a bit choppy, jumping from scene-to-scene without giving you a feel for the other characters, which is a shame because this is one film where you do need to have an understanding of just how Henry's nature affects all those around him and how he gets away with it all. I read the novelisation of the film by Todd Strasser before seeing the film so it's all the more noticeable for me. The book not only gives greater insight into Mark's budding fraternal friendship with Connie and his need to seek a mother in Susan but it also shows Susan's growing awareness to the monster Henry is and how she feels when she is made to choose between Mark and her murderous child.

Overall, this film is enjoyable enough for a psychological thriller (although a few TV detective shows have done this idea in a slicker way) and it is nice to see a film that doesn't take a softly-softly attitude when dealing with the matter of children who kill. However, the ending was a bit of a cop-out as there could have been so many other avenues to explore had things ended differently for Henry (what should be done with sociopathic children? How do decent, loving families deal with such a child?). Those who do expect a bit more from their films will probably be disappointed.

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26 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Good. Dark. Realistic.

Author: Drew from ARKANSAS
20 July 2003

This is one of my favorite movies. Macaulay Culkin was excellent in this. The Good Son is about Mark(Elijah Wood), a young boy suffering in the recent loss of his mother, going to visit his aunt, uncle, and two cousins in Maine while his dad takes a business trip to Tokyo. Cousin Henry Evans(Macaulay Culkin) is Mark's age and they soon become good friends and have loads of fun each day, but soon Mark starts to see another side of Henry when they start putting some of Henry's ideas into action, including throwing a dummy called Mr.Highway over an overpass that causes a huge multi car wreck and a big smile on Henry's face, and shooting a dog with a homemade gun. Mark starts to think Henry deliberatly tried to kill his liitle brother years ago, and is plotting to kill the rest of the family. This movie is a bit disturbing, but good all the same.

Rated R for Violence and Language.

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20 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Scary

9/10
Author: LeThAlWeApOn389
6 July 2003

This movie was a pretty freaky movie. I mean, I doubt anyone was in that type of situation. But let me tell you, this was the best acting I've seen from a kid besides Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense. It was really scary. I really enjoyed watching this movie and I think it is a classic horror film.

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15 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Some excellent bits

Author: Stephen Hitchings from Sydney, Australia
11 January 2002

An interesting idea: parents having to deal with a psychopathic child. Believe it or not, such a situation is not uncommon. And Culkin does an excellent job. His coolness, his sudden changes of approach without any apparent shifting of gears, his complete lack of emotional reaction - which have been interpreted by some reviewers as poor acting - are actually very realistic. Personally, I find his calm and apparently effortless demeanour more frightening than the ravings of the lunatics in many other horror films.

Unfortunately, the plot lacks all credibility. Certainly psychopaths are excellent con-men (in fact, they are the most typical con-men) but it is absurd to believe that a child like this could have covered his tracks so well that his parents do not even suspect that there is something wrong with him. Even more ridiculous is that his behaviour towards his little sister - whom he hates enough to try to kill her - has been so good in the past that she trusts him completely. The cliches of the over-dramatic ending are also a bit much. A pity, because there is much of value in the film.

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17 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

A good sign

7/10
Author: Spleen from Canberra, Australia
23 July 1999

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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17 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Macaulay Culkin's best performance and film.

Author: Dale Roberson from Elgin, Illinois
27 October 1998

This is Macaulay Culkin's best film. He was very creepy as the young boy with a black heart. The dialogue was great. I truly admired the performance of Elijah Wood, emerging as one of the best young actors around. This film has so much suspense, by the end, I was very exhausted.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Bad boy

6/10
Author: jotix100 from New York
22 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Henry, the angelic looking boy, lives with his parents in a beautiful suburban East coast home. His cousin Mark, from Arizona, who has just lost his mother, is invited to come and spend some time with his uncle's Wallace family. What Mark doesn't know is he is leaving one difficult situation back home, but he is not coming to a happy environment. Henry's little brother has died drowned in his bathtub, and Susan, his mother is still grieving his death.

When a series of little accidents begin to happen, Mark is blamed for them. After all, Henry, who looks as though he can't do any harm, will never be thought as the culprit. It's Susan, the mother, who discovers the truth after going to Henry's shed where he keeps most of his secrets.

Although the film is predictable, director Joseph Ruben has given it a look that keeps the viewer interested in what's happening. The screen play is by Ian McEwan, an excellent writer.

Macauley Culkin was at the height of his early film career and he makes a great Henry Evans. Elijah Wood is seen as Mark, the visiting cousin who is horrified by what he finds in his new home. Wendy Crewson plays Susan, the grieving mother. David Morse, a wonderful actor, doesn't have much to do as Mark's father.

Watch the film without any expectations and it will reward you.

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