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'The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story' Review: Lifetime thriller chills bones

The true story of Martin MacNeill and the murder of his former beauty queen wife, Michele Martin, leaves a lasting impression
A still from 'The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story' (Lifetime)
A still from 'The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story' (Lifetime)

Spoilers for 'The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story'

If you're on the lookout for a mind-bending thriller that leaves you questioning the length a man can go for his selfish needs, look no further. 'The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story' is the epitome of broken trust, relationships, grief, and loss. Lifetime's newest 2021 thriller leaves you with a lasting impression — the way some books, movies, and even people do.

The cast includes Tom Everett Scott as Dr MacNeill, with Charisma Carpenter playing the role of his wife Michele. Anwen O’Driscoll portrays his daughter, Alexis, who idolized McNeill until she began questioning the circumstances of her mother’s death. 


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Lifetime's 'The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story' is based on the true story of Dr Martin MacNeill, a Utah-based doctor, whose real character behind all that seemingly perfect persona and "too good to be true" charm comes to light after the mysterious death of his wife. Dr MacNeill led with an incredible life with his former 'Miss Concord' wife, Michele, and their eight children, three of whom were adopted from Ukraine.

The first half of the movie seems so perfect, you tend to think it's one of those classic feel-good family movies. But just when you start rooting for the MacNeills, the plot twist hits your gut so hard, you won't see that coming! Records say that the eight kids of the MacNeill family lost their mother Michele MacNeill and authorities quickly determined it to be due to natural causes, just days after she had undergone facelift surgery, in the last hopes of saving her marriage after having doubted her husband for having an affair. She died in the year 2007.

The turn of events that led up to Michele's death and after were a trail of horrifying wrongdoings. Her oldest daughter, Alexis, took the help of her aunt Linda, and led a campaign to have a thorough investigation opened into her death, which eventually uncovered some alarming facts. After much interrogation and checking all possible records, it was discovered that Michele's husband, Dr Martin MacNeill, had withheld decades of secrets from his family: extramarital affairs, falsified transcripts, lying his way through medical school, a hidden felony conviction — a long history that bolstered the family's suspicions that he had actually killed his wife and erased all evidence. Martin portrayed the role of a grieving husband and caring father, while having overdosed his own wife on medication.  

Six and a half years after Michele's death, Martin was put on trial for plotting to kill his wife, in what prosecutors said was a plan to start a new life with a woman called Gypsy. Martin had brought her home on the pretext that she's a nanny and had an affair with her. He was eventually convicted of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment, and died 2 years into serving his sentence.

Watching this thriller whilst all the while knowing that it's based on true events is baffling, no doubt, and is sure to have the audience wrapped around the storyline throughout. While the movie is moderately paced, each scene moves onto the other without proper segue or an explanation, which might not sit well with the audience. The actors playing the doctor and his daughter played their parts with sheer brilliance. Tom Scott as Dr Martin in the movie is sure to have you second-guessing his intentions the next time you see him on screen.

'The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story' is currently streaming on Lifetime.