Review by Nicholas Porteous for Mr. Will Wong
A Good Person is Zach Braff’s fourth film as a Director, along with his first (and possibly last?) feature collaboration with then-girlfriend Florence Pugh. Though I wouldn’t say it’s completely bereft of Braffiness–that is, his specific visual panache and desire for melodrama mixed with borderline screwball-level gags more evident in Garden State and Wish I Was Here–I will say this is the least Braffy movie he’s made thus far. Whether that’s good or bad is up to your own personal …Braffability. Let’s assume for the rest of this review that you’ve never seen another of his works.
Allison (Florence Pugh) is engaged to Nathan (Chinaza Uche) and things are going annoyingly-well. The first couple of scenes, meant to establish their loveable partnership, read more like cringey Hallmark moments of saccharine sweetness. Something has to go wrong here. And it sure does. Allison is behind the wheel during a car accident that takes the lives of Nathan‘s sister and her husband. Cut to a year later. The relationship is dead, and Allison‘s addicted to opiods. Though I sympathize with her grief-stricken reality, there’s nothing all that rootable about Allison–a problem the Movie never really overcomes. Enter Morgan Freeman as Daniel, Nathan‘s father. For him, losing one of his children is only the latest in a series of tragedies. His past is filled with abuse and alcoholism, and he’s become really good at handling pain. That’s perfect, because Florence needs someone to show her the ropes. A Good Person is a story about processing sorrow, and figuring out how to rebuild a life after it’s been shattered. Those themes are inescapably rich, but the Script, the way the drama coalesces, and other facets of the production, are all too middle-of-the-road to make a serious impact.
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