A Good Person: Strong Performances In A Weak Movie
A Good Person does have a few good ideas within its runtime, however, they are few and far between. It feels like the worst of Amsterdam and The Whale combined into one movie where much like Amsterdam it is obvious that the writer/director (in this case Zack Braff) desperately has something he wants to say to the detriment of the overall narrative and much like The Whale the narrative is so muddied that the only redeeming quality the movie has is its performances. That said, the acting performances are not as strong as The Whale but the narrative is a little more concise than Amsterdam, leaving A Good Person as a perfectly middle-of-the-road experience.
A Good Person follows Allison (Florence Pugh) as she is just at the top of her life. Her career is taking off, she’s engaged, she has a great family life, and everything is just perfect. Then tragedy strikes and her fiancé dies in a car accident while she was driving and she loses everything and develops an opioid addiction. She starts to turn her life around after forging an unlikely friendship with the man who would have been her father-in-law (Morgan Freeman). Alex Wolfe, Molly Shannon, Zoe Lister-Jones, and Celeste O’Connor also star.
The best thing about the movie is the dynamic that exists between Morgan Freeman and Florence Pugh. Both are extraordinary actors and they do their best to carry the movie on their backs. That’s not to say the rest of the cast does not do as good a job, however, considering the emotional arc of the movie is about the evolving relationship between these two characters, the majority of the movie rests on their ability to make it believable.
That said, it is very obvious that Zack Braff was trying to return to his directorial “roots” from Garden State by telling a more grounded and emotional story that will have social relevance, the problem is his approach to telling a story that is socially relevant is way too scattershot to be effective. Is the movie about the opioid crisis, is it about processing grief, or is it about the strength of the family unit? The problem is that it is about all of these things to varying degrees, but none of them get the depth they truly need to be explored to a worthwhile degree. There is also a ton of tonal whiplash where the movie tries to be funny at the wrong times and it will careen from one scene to the next without regard for what just happened compared to what is about to happen.
All of that is not to say that A Good Person is a bad movie, it’s just perfectly ok. It’s inoffensive and uplifting, operating in the same space as a movie like Jesus Revolution or American Underdog. That said, movies like that do not do enough to warrant a theatrical experience and, when the plot is as scattershot as this one, it becomes all the more obvious once it has the viewer’s undivided attention.
Final Rating: 6/10