A Good Marriage (film)

A Good Marriage is a 2014 American psychological thriller film based on the novella of the same name by Stephen King, from the 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars. It stars Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Kristen Connolly and Stephen Lang. It was released on October 3, 2014.

A Good Marriage
A Good Marriage.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byPeter Askin
Screenplay byStephen King
Based onA Good Marriage
by Stephen King
Produced by
  • Peter Askin
  • Will Battersby
  • Per Melita
CinematographyFrank G. DeMarco
Edited byColleen Sharp
Music by
  • Danny Bensi
  • Saunder Jurriaans
Reno Productions[1]
Distributed byScreen Media Films
Release date
  • October 3, 2014 (2014-10-03)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States


Bob (Anthony LaPaglia) and Darcy Anderson (Joan Allen) are happily married with two adult children. One evening while Bob is away on a business trip, Darcy goes into the garage to search for batteries. When rummaging through Bob's things, she comes across pornographic magazines containing sadomasochistic images. Upon looking further, she finds a secret compartment behind the garage's baseboard and inside is a small box containing ID cards of Marjorie Duvall, a victim of a serial killer known as "Beadie".

Horrified, Darcy looks up Beadie online and cross-checks Bob's business records with the locations of the murders, finding that he was close to most of the crimes. She also sees a photograph of Duvall wearing earrings identical to the ones Bob recently gave her as an anniversary gift. Meanwhile, after spotting a young woman leaving a diner, Bob follows her in his car. He then returns home to confront Darcy; he has deduced her discovery. He calmly explains his insanity to Darcy, recounting how he and a sadistic friend named Brian Delahanty, or "BD" (from which "Beadie" was derived), planned a school shooting as teenagers. However, Delahanty was hit by a car before they could carry it out, but Bob claims he had "infected" him with "certain ideas", resulting in his homicidal urges.

Bob claims that, after he started a family with Darcy, his murderous alter ego receded and he was not driven to kill again for several years. He asks Darcy to put the matter behind them for the sake of their children, and then falls asleep. The following morning, Darcy feigns an agreement to forget what she has discovered, on the condition that he does not kill again, and that he bury Duvall's ID cards in the woods. Bob agrees.

A few months later, Bob, who is an avid coin collector, finds a rare 1955 doubled die cent, he and Darcy go out to celebrate. Upon arriving home, Darcy has Bob fetch some Perrier while she waits for him upstairs, ostensibly for sex. However, when Bob goes up, Darcy pushes him back down the stairs, breaking his back and arm. She then manages to shove a plastic bag and a dish cloth down his throat, killing him. After removing all evidence of murder, Darcy manages to convince the police and the children that Bob died in a drunken accident. Darcy assumes the ordeal is over.

Not long after Bob is buried, a retired ailing detective named Holt Ramsey (Stephen Lang), visits the house. Ramsey has spent years investigating the Beadie murders and had questioned Bob previously. Ramsey tells Darcy that he suspected Bob was the killer, since his Chevrolet Suburban was seen in the vicinity of each victim. Darcy realises that Ramsey has figured out her role in Bob's death, but she rejects any accusations and Ramsey leaves. Later that night when Ramsey is admitted to hospital, Darcy visits him and threatens to smother him with a pillow, claiming "two can keep a secret if one of them is dead". Once she admits the truth, Ramsey assures her that she did the right thing.

Darcy returns home and enjoys life on her own, after realising that Bob was close to being caught and therefore wasn't as smart as he thought he was. She finds that she can now be at peace with herself.



On May 19, 2012, ScreenDaily reported that Will Battersby and Peter Askin were producing an adaptation of A Good Marriage; Askin was announced as directing Stephen King's screenplay of his own novella.[2] On September 11, 2012, Joan Allen was announced as the lead in the film.[3]


The film was released in the United States on October 3, 2014.

The film, when announced, caused controversy when King said that he took influence from serial killer Dennis Rader. Kerri Rawson, Rader's daughter, said that King was exploiting her father's victims by taking inspiration from his life.[4]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 35% of 20 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 4.8/10.[5] Metacritic rated it 43/100 based on eight reviews.[6] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter called it "a decidedly minor" adaptation that "fails to fulfill the potential of its provocative premise".[7] Andy Webster of The New York Times called it a "low-key, assured thriller" with a strong performance from Allen.[8] Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times called it "a wry, old-fashioned game of cat and mouse" with good acting.[9] Pete Vonder Haar of The Village Voice wrote that it is a serviceable, nondescript thriller that was a surprising choice to adapt to film.[10] Rod Pocowatchit of The Wichita Eagle rejected concerns of exploitation, but said that the film comes across as a low-budget made-for-TV film.[11] Kiva Reardon of The A.V. Club rated it D+ and wrote, "By its conclusion, A Good Marriage doesn't give a definitive answer to its titular topic, but it does make clear what makes a bad movie."[12] Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine rated it 2/4 stars and wrote, "The film is watchable in a plodding one-thing-after-another sort of way, but it could have used far more of King's mordant humor".[13] Patrick Cooper of Bloody Disgusting rated it 1/5 stars and called it the worst King adaptation yet due to its lack of thrills.[14] Staci Layne Wilson of Dread Central rated it 3/5 stars and questioned the choice of source material. Wilson said that the actors are good, but they have no chemistry, which makes the film stale.[15]


  1. ^ McNary, Dave (2014-06-09). "Stephen King's 'A Good Marriage' Scares Up U.S. Distribution". Variety.
  2. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (19 May 2012). "Atlas bears Stephen King thriller A Good Marriage". Screendaily. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  3. ^ Kit, Borys (9 November 2012). "Joan Allen Closes Deal to Star in Stephen King Adaptation 'A Good Marriage'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  4. ^ Wenzl, Roy (2014-09-27). "BTK's daughter: Stephen King 'exploiting my father's 10 victims and their families' with movie". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  5. ^ "Stephen King's A Good Marriage (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  6. ^ "Stephen King's A Good Marriage". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  7. ^ Scheck, Frank (2014-10-22). "'Stephen King's A Good Marriage': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  8. ^ Webster, Andy (2014-10-02). "Till Death Do Us Part". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  9. ^ Goldstein, Gary (2014-10-02). "Review 'A Good Marriage' a wry, old-fashioned game of cat and mouse". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  10. ^ Vonder Haar, Peter (2014-10-01). "Finding Out Your Husband is a Serial Killer in Stephen King's A Good Marriage". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  11. ^ Pocowatchit, Rod (2014-10-10). "Movie review: Stephen King's 'A Good Marriage' a mediocre thriller". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  12. ^ Reardon, Kiva (2014-10-02). "Stephen King adapts a bad movie out of his own A Good Marriage". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  13. ^ Bowen, Chuck (2014-09-28). "Stephen King's A Good Marriage". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  14. ^ Cooper, Patrick (2014-10-03). "[Review] 'A Good Marriage' Is the Worst Stephen King Movie Yet". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  15. ^ Wilsn, Staci Layne (2014-09-29). "Stephen King's A Good Marriage (2014)". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-02-19.

External linksEdit