‘A Good Person’ Movie and Blu-ray Review
The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.
I’m an emotional, sensitive and empathic person, and I tend to seek out films which will make me think, move me to tears and tell a narrative that resonates with me. However, I have a good barometer for films that are trying too hard to tug at my heart strings and doing just a little too much to get an emotional reaction out of me. When you try to watch a movie or two a day, you can usually figure out which direction a movie is going to go either from its trailer or by where the film is taking its audience. “A Good Person,” directed by Zach Braff, started out incredibly promising until its wild and heavy-handed third act.
“A Good Person” stars the always lovely and talented Florence Pugh as Allison, a young woman who is about to get married to the love of her life, Nathan (Chinaza Uche). They are the perfect couple and the film opens with their engagement party where they are at their happiest. But then things spiral out of control for Allison when she gets into a car accident with her fiancé’s sister and husband in the car. She took her eyes off the road for one second to check Google Maps, and while she survived, they both perished. This sends her down a path of becoming addicted to OxyContin to deal with the physical and emotional pain of the car accident.
Allison cuts her hair one day and is making rash and impulsive decisions in her life, which worries her mother, played by Molly Shannon. She hits up an old friend for pills, former classmates, and even curses out the pharmacist. Finally, she decides to go to a meeting, which is being led by Simone (Zoe Lister-Jones). While there, she runs into Nathan’s father, Daniel, played by Morgan Freeman. Allison is hesitant to stay, as she knows the pain and hurt she caused his family, but he insists that she stay. Daniel has his hands full as he’s a recovering alcoholic who is now in charge of taking care of his granddaughter, Ryan (Celeste O’Connor), after her parents were killed in the car accident.
The best thing about “A Good Person” is the back-and-forth interactions between Pugh and Freeman. When you have actors of this caliber, it’s best to just stay out of their way and let them do their thing. Freeman plays an ex-cop who never really knew how to be there for his son Nathan growing up. He used to beat him, which has caused a lot of trauma and resentment in Nathan toward his father. The two of them barely speak and don’t have much of a relationship. For Allison, she’s trying to deal with the grief and guilt of what she has done to Daniel, as she has taken his daughter away from him. However, he could use some help when it comes to figuring out how to talk to a sixteen-year-old teenage girl about safe sex when her parents are now deceased.
I really enjoyed the first hour and a half of “A Good Person.” I thought Pugh really, really went for it with her performance. She’s an actress who really immerses herself in her characters. Physically and mentally, this is a fantastic performance. She looks, sounds and acts like an addict. Freeman is also very good, as he usually is, at portraying many different emotions throughout as he’s trying to be a grandfather, deal with his own demons, and also forgive Allison. Thanks to the two lead performances and a fast-moving plot, I was really enjoying “A Good Person.” Sadly, the film takes a wild and crazy turn in the third act, which really sent things spiraling off the rails.
Yes, this is a drama, and you expect certain emotional moments and sequences to be displayed on screen. In “A Good Person,” it felt forced and like writer/director Braff had an idea for a movie and the right cast, but didn’t know what to say at the end or how he wanted to end it. Instead, it turns into a cheesy soap opera, and he, sadly, wastes the performances of his two leads and his supporting cast. The film is also about 15 to 20 minutes too long. Once again, the drama felt forced at the end and it seemed like they were really trying for an emotional and powerful ending. Instead, I could see right through the fact they were trying to make me feel something instead of letting it happen organically. The film didn’t need to try so hard and throw so much into the last 30-40 minutes of the film.
* * out of * * * *
Blu-Ray Info: “A Good Person” is released on a single-disc Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. It is rated R for drug abuse, language throughout, and some sexual references. The film has a running time of 128 minutes. It comes with a digital copy of the film as well.
Video Info: The 1080p High-Definition transfer is very, very solid. It’s a clean looking film with a green tint that really translated itself well to the material. Visually, Zach Braff did a great job behind the camera. It’s his script which really needed work.
Audio Info: The DTS-HD MA: English 5.1 audio track is also really good for this film. I did feel like Zach Braff relied on music a little too much throughout the course of this film to get the audience to feel something. I enjoy music in a film, but it needs to be properly placed and not shoved down our throats. There is also a Dolby Digital: English Descriptive Audio track. Subtitles are included in English, French, and Spanish.
Should You Buy It?
It’s always disappointing when I want to like a movie and don’t. I know this might sound like a rather simplistic approach to film viewing, but I had high hopes for this one. I’m still a huge fan of 2004’s “Garden State,” and I think Zach Braff is a talented director. When it comes to his writing, I think he can be a little too earnest. He means well and his heart is in the right place, but sometimes it just seems like he can’t keep himself from going a little too far. I didn’t hate the film and I enjoyed a good portion of it, but it was just a little too sappy for me which is saying something. The film looks and sounds good on Blu-ray, so it’s not a huge disappointment they didn’t give it a 4K release. There are no special features on this disc at all. I think it’s worth watching for the performances of its two leads, but I don’t think it’s a film you need to own. If you see it on Max or at Redbox, it’s worth watching. However, this is not a film I need to watch again. This is a case of two performances which deserved a better script.
**Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free. The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.