Andrea’s Angle | “A Good Person” – Emotionally Gut-Wrenching


When I first heard about this film, I was excited. I have rarely watched a movie with Morgan Freeman in it that isn’t good. This film also sounded like it would be emotional and had a fantastic cast beyond Freeman, like Florence Pugh, Molly Shannon, and Zoe Lister-Jones. So I had high hopes for the film to at least be interesting. What I didn’t expect was how much the movie absolutely wrecked me in all the best ways. It was emotionally gut-wrenching, the acting was profoundly powerful, and the story was well-balanced and tackled the subject of grief in an authentic and very human way.

A Good Person is a drama film written, directed, and produced by Zach Braff. The film focuses on a young woman, Alison (Florence Pugh), who is about to marry the love of her life, Nathan (Chinaza Uche). She gets along with Nathan’s sister, and he has a rocky relationship with his father, Daniel (Morgan Freeman). Then a tragedy strikes, and Alison gets into a car accident while with her sister in law to be and her husband, leaving their daughter, Ryan (Celeste O’Connor), to be raised by Daniel, her grandfather. Nathan and Alison break up, and Alison struggles both with her guilt and also her grief. Addicted to pain medication, Alison joins a group and finds herself encountering Daniel again. The two connect over their grief. Alison even bonds with Ryan. But will it be enough to change any for the better or make a difference in Alison’s or Ryan’s life? Molly Shannon plays Alison’s mother, Diane, and Zoe Lister-Jones, her sponsor Simone.

Writer/director Zach Braff on the set of A GOOD PERSON, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Jeong Park / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In this film, I found it absolutely messed me up. One of the key elements in a film is if it makes you feel something. The story in this movie focuses on the messy and authentic nature of grief. It brilliantly humanizes the experience, showing how complicated relationships are and how complex grief is, delving into the layers that each person involved struggles with, and showing the audience how each deals with their grief. In the case of Alison, it shows how profoundly she is impacted by the event and how those emotions leave her reeling and lost. What makes even the most emotional scenes resonate is how well-balanced the story is and the way that humor is used to lighten the darkest moments. Even though that humor can be black, it helps leaven those heavier emotions but never causes the emotional impact to lessen.

One of the most interesting pieces of filmography is how Zach Braff uses the camera to demonstrate when Alison is high. The scenes are fuzzy, with an effect that makes even the audience feel the dizziness that Alison feels. Those scenes also develop how negative Alison feels in those moments, even as numb as it makes her. She still ends up feeling like a failure and despair. If you have ever lost family due to drug dependence, I do offer you a cautionary note. These scenes will hit home, but they also allow the audience to feel a tiny bit of what someone dealing with dependence is feeling.

Florence Pugh as Allison in A GOOD PERSON, directed by Zach Braff, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Simply put, the story is profoundly impactful, showing us not only Alison’s guilt but also how Daniel deals with the responsibility of raising his teenage granddaughter. It shows how Nathan struggles to forgive his father for very real issues from his childhood and no longer has the support of his sister or Alison. With Ryan, we see how much she misses her mother and father, how angry she is, and how much that impacts her day to day. Even therapy is not enough to pull her out of it. Her anger and her emotions impact Daniel and his ability to reach her. The story is both complicated and authentic at the same time.

The acting is beyond phenomenal. Morgan Freeman has such gravitas, even in a role where he plays a less-than-perfect father and a man who struggles with his own issues. His performance is powerful and full of nuance. Florence Pugh’s performance is full of emotion and believable. She creates a character that is authentic as both a drug addict but also struggling with grief. The dynamic between her and Morgan Freeman is rich and layered. Celeste O’Connor is emotional, and her chemistry with Florence Pugh is strong. Molly Shannon is brilliant as Alison’s mother, Diane, balancing humor and concern beautifully. Zoe Lister-Jones is excellent as Simone, and so is Chinaza Uche as Nathan. The chemistry between him and Florence Pugh is off the charts and makes a relationship completely believable. This is a stellar cast that makes the film shine with emotion and drama.

Florence Pugh (left) as Allison and Morgan Freeman (right) as Daniel in A GOOD PERSON, directed by Zach Braff, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Jeong Park / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I could not find anything in this film to fault. If you love tear-jerking drama, powerful emotions, and authentic performances, this film is for you. The performances are skilled and layered with emotion. The balance of lightness and darkness is human and messy but perfect in this movie. The ending leaves us with a resolution that is hopeful despite everything. I might have cried throughout this film, but it was cathartic. What is a better example of art than a film that makes you feel, even if leaving you in tears? I loved the emotions this film evokes, and it is rare that a film is such a perfect blend of authentic and human.

Rating: 5 out of 5 trains.

Official Website: A Good Person | Official Website | March 24 2023
Facebook: @AGoodPersonMov
Instagram: @agoodpersonmov
Twitter: @agoodpersonmov
Hashtag: #AGoodPerson


A Good Person

Genre: Drama

Daniel (Morgan Freeman) is brought together with Allison (Florence Pugh), the once thriving young woman with a bright future who was involved in an unimaginable tragedy that took his daughter’s life. As grief-stricken Daniel navigates raising his teenage granddaughter and Allison seeks redemption, they discover that friendship, forgiveness, and hope can flourish in unlikely places.
A GOOD PERSON opens exclusively in theaters nationwide on March 24, 2023.

ONE-LINER: Sometimes we find hope where we least expect it.

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