The Good Nurse Parent Guide
This is a tightly written, well paced crime drama and ranks high in Netflix's offerings.
Parent Movie Review
Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain) is a good nurse – kind, empathetic and deeply caring – who is barely hanging on. She has a serious heart condition which puts her at high risk of heart attack or stroke, and which is aggravated by the demands of her job. With two daughters to support, Amy has to keep working in the ICU in the hopes that she can stick it out until she qualifies for health benefits in a few months and can get the surgery she needs.
Luckily for Amy, a new nurse joins the shift. Charlie Cullen (Eddie Redmayne) is experienced, capable, and determined to help Amy stay on the job. There’s only one problem, and it’s a big one. It looks like Charlie might be killing patients…
The Good Nurse is based on the true story of a serial killer who stalked New York and Pennsylvania hospitals for sixteen years. The details have been altered for the script, but it is substantively close to the facts. Thankfully, the murders are not gory and most take place off screen. Squeamish viewers needn’t worry about blood splatters and dismembered limbs: this is a tidy film with deaths occurring in hospital rooms, the very blandness of which paradoxically makes the film more frightening.
If you’re looking for a taut crime drama, The Good Nurse delivers almost unrelenting tension. The murders are obviously the main issue, but for moms, the crushing pressures that overwhelm Amy’s life – her draining job, her overwhelming medical issues, her parenting worries – will feel painfully familiar. As I watched the movie, I felt a double sense of foreboding, first, for the doomed patients and then for Amy’s ability to bear her growing burdens. As the story interweaves Amy’s personal challenges with the hunt for the killer, the tension remains consistently high, rarely flagging. Jessica Chastain deserves credit for an outstanding performance as Amy, imbuing her role with compassion, anxiety, and bone-deep fatigue. She’s well matched by Eddie Redmayne whose Charlie Cullen is entirely believable. This is a well-acted, well-written film and is a real standout in Netflix’s offerings.
That said, parents will want to consider the Restricted rating before letting teens watch the film. The theme of medical homicide might be disturbing to some, and the script also contains over 30 curse words, including seven sexual expletives. There is a scene of non-sexual nudity where a dead woman’s breasts are visible as her body is washed, which will be objectionable to some viewers.
Negative content aside, this is a film that gives viewers lots to think about. Amy’s moral courage stands in stark contrast to the hospital’s risk-averse lawyers and administrators who stymie the police investigation at every turn. (If they were this bad in real life, it’s astounding that none of them were charged with obstruction of justice.) As with all true crime movies, this raises the issue of exploitation: is turning the death of real people into entertainment ethical? Does changing the names of victims, as this film does, make it ok? Or do you think that these movies have value in terms of history or criminology? Whatever you think about these issues, if you are an adult fan of character dramas, police movies, or crime films, The Good Nurse might be just what the doctor ordered.
Directed by Tobias Lindholm. Starring Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Kim Dickens. Running time: 121 minutes. Theatrical release October 26, 2022. Updated October 26, 2022
Watch the trailer for The Good Nurse
The Good Nurse
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Good Nurse rated R? The Good Nurse is rated R by the MPAA for language.
Violence: The film is about murder and there are frequent mentions of homicide. Dead bodies are seen in hospital rooms. A man’s death is heard but not seen. There’s mention of an angry man slashing his ex-girlfriend’s tires.
Sexual Content: A dead woman’s breasts are visible for an extended period as her body is being cleaned.
Profanity: The script contains eight sexual expletives, seven scatological curses, a minor profanity, and 15 terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol in a restaurant.
Page last updated October 26, 2022
The Good Nurse Parents' Guide
To see how closely the movie hews to real life events, you can check this link:
History vs. Hollywood: The Good Nurse
Medical homicide is rare but alarming. Background information is available at these sites:
Crime and Investigation: The 10 Most Prolific Serial Killers
Amy suffers from cardiac myopathy but has to keep working because she doesn’t have health insurance. It’s hard to believe that there could be healthcare workers without medical insurance, but this is a fact of life for hundreds of thousands. You can find more information here:
Loved this movie? Try these books…The movie is based on the book "The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder" by Charles Graeber.
Related home video titles:
If you want to enjoy more film starring Jessica Chastain, you can try The Eyes of Tammy Faye Baker, The 355, Molly’s Game, The Zookeeper’s Wife, and Interstellar. You can watch Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Theory of Everything, Les Miserables, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and The Aeronauts.