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Gerald's Game (2017)

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While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tom
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Adalyn Jones ...
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Gwendolyn Mulamba ...
Judge McGarnagle
James Flanagan ...
Court Clerk
Dori Lumpkin ...
Teenage Girl
...
Reporter #1
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Reporter #2
...
Reporter #3
Chuck Borden ...
Court Officer #1
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Storyline

When a harmless game between a married couple in a remote retreat suddenly becomes a harrowing fight for survival, wife Jessie must confront long-buried demons within her own mind - and possibly lurking in the shadows of her seemingly empty house. Written by Intrepid Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Some games you play, some you survive.

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

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TV-MA | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

29 September 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Geralds lek  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruce Greenwood is 15 years and 17 days older than his on screen wife Carla Gugino. See more »

Goofs

When Tom is talking to a young Jessie on the shore of the lake, the sun is at 12 o'clock directly behind his back. However, the shadows place the sun at 9 o'clock on his left. See more »

Quotes

Gerald Burlingame: People are safe from ghouls and ghosts and the living dead in the daylight. And they're usually safe from them at night, if they're with others. But a person alone in the dark... women alone in the dark are like open doors, Jessie, and if they scream for help, who knows what might answer. Who knows what people see in the moment of their solitary death. Is it so hard to believe that some of them might have died of fear? No matter what the words on the death certificate say... died of fear... ...
[...]
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Connections

References Cujo (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

BRING IT ON HOME TO ME
Performed by Sam Cooke
Written by Sam Cooke
Courtesy of ABKCO Music & Records, Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment
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User Reviews

 
"Gerald's Game"- A fascinating and gripping tale of suspense that takes hold and never lets go despite a shaky and questionable finale...
6 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

From the mind of Stephen King and director Mike Flanagan comes "Gerald's Game", a Netflix original movie based upon King's novel that takes a simple and elegant premise and successfully uses it weave a tale of suspense that is among the year's most impressive of surprise treats. And though it might not quite reach the great heights attained by the best adaptations of King's work, Flanagan's fierce and stunning portrayal of a woman pushed to the brink of insanity in a desperate bid for survival is a slick and very satisfying adaptation. And it stands tall and proud among the catalog of films and franchises that Netflix has launched over the past five years.

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) are a well-off couple whose marriage has taken a decidedly bad turn, and who are seeking a way to spice-up their life and reconnect a bit. At the suggestion of Gerald, the couple decide to try something new in the bedroom to add some flair to their love-life... bondage and role- playing. Though initially open and allowing herself to be handcuffed to their bed, Jessie soon becomes agitated by her husband's increasingly violent kink, resulting in an argument and Gerald's accidental death from a heart-attack. Now trapped with her dead husband's body and a hungry neighborhood dog who wandered in through an open door, Jessie realizes that she won't be able to get any help, and must do whatever she can to try and escape from her imprisonment. All the while, her mental state increasingly deteriorates from stress and she begins to have flashbacks to her troubled past...

At its core, "Gerald's Game" is a deceptively complex story that was for many years considered "unfilmable" due to its shockingly minimalist plot and lack of characters or settings, and yet, here we are. And it is indeed surprising how director Flanagan is able to make the movie not only work, but thoroughly excel with clever structuring and top-notch performances. It's a film that takes place almost entirely within a single room outside of a few key sequences and flashbacks, and yet it never feels dull nor does it fall into tedium. Flanagan wisely allows us to really get into Jessie's mind, and also adds plenty of entertainment value in seeing her work out potential solutions to her problem. The film also cleverly allows dialog and character development to occur thanks to a rather brilliant device- having Jessie "talk" to hallucinations of different characters and people from her life including her deceased husband and abusive father (Henry Thomas), who all represent various pieces of her memory and her mental state. Its an invaluable storytelling tactic that pays off wonderfully, and feels like an organic piece of the puzzle.

Gugino absolutely steals the film with a career-defining performance as Jessie, and I would not be surprised in the slightest to see her getting some serious nods in the upcoming awards season. Though I've been a fan of hers for some time, I've never seen Gugino in anything quite like this. She carries the entire film, and covers a range of virtually every emotion possible with an ease and sense of realism that was frankly awe-inspiring. Greenwood is also quite a bit of fun in his role as Gerald, as he is allowed to play the character in several different lights, especially after his death when he begins to re-emerge as a vision seen by his wife. He's both slimy but charming. Sympathetic but unlikable. It's a unique balancing act, and Greenwood nails it. I also really enjoyed the small turn by former child actor Henry Thomas as the deeply troubled and abusive father. He's everything you could ever love to hate, and he does a wonderful job with the role.

Unfortunately, there are two issues I take with the film that I feel need to be discussed. And while they don't ruin it for me, I do think they bring the film down a few pegs and are the reasons why I cannot give this a perfect ten despite desperately wanting to. Throughout her ordeal, Jessie begins to see cryptic visions of a figure known as the "Moonlight Man" (Carel Struycken), who Jessie perceives to be a personification of her potential impending death and frankly... it's a fascinating idea, but it comes off as just a tad-but silly. Even in a film containing elements like hallucinations, visions and flashbacks, the "Moonlight Man" just seems out of place and contrived. And I'm sorry... he looks goofy. He just does. Compounding this is the other key issue- the film's denouement. While I will not spoil this, I can say with some certainty that the final ten minutes could have easily been removed entirely, and frankly, the film would have been better for it. It's tacked on and superfluous, only serving as padding that demystifies the tale somewhat instead of enhancing it.

Still, these issues cannot detract from an otherwise entirely stellar and enthralling experience. "Gerald's Game" might suffer a few missteps along the way, but I would still give it my highest of recommendations. With remarkable performances, an intriguing story, wonderful characters and top-notch visual direction, you really couldn't ask for more. It's one of the better Stephen King adaptations of the past decade and just a darned-fine thriller in its own right. And so, I give it a very good 8 out of 10. Definitely one to check out this Halloween season!


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