Tense True Crime Thriller On Netflix Gives Jessica Chastain An Underrated Suspenseful Performance

By Robert Scucci | Published

the good nurse
Jessica Chastain in The Good Nurse (2022)

If you’re still reeling over the fact that all 406 episodes of Forensic Files expired on Netflix over a year ago, but still would like to satiate your endless appetite for true-crime, then we strongly suggest checking out The Good Nurse. Based on the Charles Graeber true-crime book of the same name, this tense Jessica Chastain starring drama will keep you at the edge of your seat, and leave your jaw on the floor upon its conclusion.

The Good Nurse, starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne, is streaming on Netflix.

The Good Nurse will rattle your faith in healthcare politics, but its presentation is worthy of praise for anybody who needs a reminder that good ultimately prevails, even under the most bizarre of circumstances.

The Good Nurse centers on Jessica Chastain’s Amy Loughren, who is an overburdened ICU nurse, and also a single mother. To make matters more complicated, she is secretly suffering from cardiomyopathy, which is a progressive heart condition that can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fainting.

Though Amy hasn’t been working long enough at the hospital to qualify for health insurance so she could afford a heart transplant, this isn’t the primary source of tension the movie, but rather a serial killer plot that takes over the narrative shortly after the film’s onset.

Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain in The Good Nurse (2022)

We’re quickly introduced to Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne), who is hired by Parkfield Memorial Hospital because of his years of experience as a nurse. But after the sudden and mysterious death of an elderly patient who was under Amy and Charles’ care, an investigation is opened up by the hospital’s administrative board and the state police.

Charles is a serial killer, but his reign of terror doesn’t take place out on the streets or in people’s homes, but rather inside the hospitals that employ him.

Though reporting the death is initially just a regular part of hospital protocol, a closer look at the case reveals that there was definite foul play, and The Good Nurse expertly clues the viewer into the fact that somebody at the hospital is probably involved.

The smoking gun in The Good Nurse comes in the form of insulin, a substance that is revealed to have been found in a number of Charles’ past patients from the hospital in which he was previously employed. As the investigation progresses, it’s apparent that Charles was not only complicit in the most recent death, but death seems to follow him wherever he goes.

In other words, Charles is a serial killer, but his reign of terror doesn’t take place out on the streets or in people’s homes, but rather inside the hospitals that employ him.

The Good Nurse isn’t your typical serial killer story, but we’d argue that it’s actually more terrifying than witnessing some mysterious masked assailant who terrorizes the night. The suspense comes from the fact that the deaths in this film all occurred in a controlled environment within our hospital systems, and allowed to play out undetected over the course of several years.

The Charles Graeber novel that the film is based on spends a considerable amount of time highlighting the moral shortcomings of the hospital administrators who are more concerned about protecting their bottom lines than caring for their patients, a theme that is explored heavily in the film.

the good nurse
Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse (2022)

Upon its 2022 release, The Good Nurse was well-received, and was not only the most-viewed film on Netflix upon its release, but also debuted at number one on Netflix’s Top 10 with over 68 million viewer hours. Critically speaking, this compelling murder mystery garnered a 75 percent critical score against a 76 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Redmayne’s portrayal of Charles will truly get under your skin…

Though The Good Nurse is based on true events, critics have criticized the film for having a fair amount of stilted dialogue and unrealistic story elements, but have praised both Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne’s performances.

Jessica Chastain was praised for her performance in The Good Nurse, and Eddie Redmayne was nominated for a number of awards, including a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of the film’s antagonist.

Redmayne’s portrayal of Charles will truly get under your skin because he at first comes off as an empathetic nurse working the night shift, which is in line with a number of serial killers we’ve heard about in the past who have lived seemingly normal lives publicly despite the atrocious crimes they committed against humanity while nobody else was watching.

The Good Nurse is a must-see for anybody who is an avid fan of the true-crime genre, but needs a break from the typical Netflix docuseries. Though this drama film plays out like a work of fiction, it’s based on very real events, and remains faithful to its source material despite its creative liberties. So next time you’re torn between watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, or The Ted Bundy Tapes, why don’t you split the difference, and check out The Good Nurse next time you fire up Netflix.