A Good Person15¦ Blu-ray, DVD
When actor Zach Braff made the jump from the small screen in his hugely successful comedy show Scrubs, to the big screen with his directorial debut, 2004’s Garden State, it looked very much like the perfect transition.
But since then, he has only helmed three other films, and that’s including this one. And on this evidence, it feels somewhat of a waste of talent.
Getting ready for her big day is Allison (Florence Pugh), who is on her way into the city with her sister-in-law to be and her hubby, to check out wedding dresses. But a slight loss of judgement changes her life forever, when she gets involved in a tragic accident that sees her two other passengers die.
One year on and Allison, now living with her mom Diane (Molly Shannon) still hasn’t come to terms with what happened that fateful day. So much so that she is using the accident as crutch to seek out more drugs in an attempt to drown out the pain she still feels.
But at least she reaches a point where she realises she does need help, so goes to a meeting. It’s there that she meets Daniel (Morgan Freeman), and the situation gets awkward pretty quick, because at one point in the not so distant past, he was to be her father-in-law. It’s a meeting that both could have done without, and yet it’s one that could possibly be just what they’re looking for.
This is one of those rare films these days, a family drama. It’s a genre that is seemingly no longer in vogue, or is just being brushed aside so the likes of Marvel and DC can dominate multiplexes with all that cosplay content of theirs.
The 48-year-old director also wrote this feature, setting it in his home town of South Orange, New Jersey, so it’s possible there were a few family reunions of his own along the way. It’s certainly a film that shows a great level of maturity, dealing with two heavy hitters loss and addiction as it does.
It features yet another impressive performance by Pugh, who seemed to come out of nowhere and has already cemented herself as a Hollywood regular. It’s a role that asked of her to dig a little deeper than usual, and she returns the favour with ease.
She gets a lot of help though, especially from one Morgan Freeman, who is superb as the out of touch grandfather. Look out for relative newcomer Celeste O’Connor, as the young, Kenyan born actress does a great job playing granddaughter Ryan with real zest and energy.
Braff has written a beautiful, nuanced screenplay, which has the ability to make you laugh as well as move you deeply. And although loss and addiction have featured a lot over the years in film, his take on it is brimming with a welcome warmth and vulnerability. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take him as long for his next project to make it to our screens.
It may well be a rare beast these days, but A Good Person is a wonderfully crafted take on what loss can do to a group of folk, and the work it takes from all of them to heal.