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.
What We Thought:
A Good Person is quite good. Zach Braff made a name for himself as a director with Garden State and despite me enjoying his follow up movies, I would say A Good Person is a return to form for Braff. Those who were fans of Garden State and not necessarily his other films should enjoy the latest film from the Scrubs actor.
The main reason for that is the great chemistry between Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman. They may be decades apart in age, but they go toe-to-toe opposite each other. Pugh is considered one of the best actresses under 30 working today and she shines here. It opens with her having a pretty perfect life, happily engaged with the man of her dreams, but that life is thrown for a loop by a car accident. Pugh handles the grief and addiction elements of that post-traumatic life beautifully. You watch her struggle recovering from the accident, hearing the results of the accident and ultimately dealing with addiction. She makes acting look effortless and she’s nearly flawless in her performance.
Then there’s Morgan Freeman. He’s never bad, but this might be his best performance in years. As Pugh’s almost father-in-law who loses his daughter in the accident, he’s dealing with grief and his own sobriety. Add in the fact he now needs to take care of a teenaged girl and his daily life is quite different than before the accident. Freeman and Pugh are just fantastic together and there is a scene where Freeman goes off on her and it’s absolutely brilliant.
What I also liked about the film is the honesty behind it. People handle grief and survivor’s remorse quite differently. They handle addiction quite differently as well. Braff does a good job portraying both. Pugh’s addiction to pain killers is a hot button topic, but the film shows it pretty realistically. She doesn’t think she’s an addict at first, she’s just in pain. Her mother (the underrated Molly Shannon) is fully in co-dependency mode. Freeman helps her cope with the addiction and they both get the help they need. If you’ve known anyone with addiction problems you can see it in these characters.
A Good Person really worked for me. Pugh and Freeman are great and the film never tries to push an agenda on the audience. It could have gotten heavy handed about opioid use, but again I thought the portrayal was honest and realistic. Braff tackles a touchy subject and gets two top-notch performances out of it. I hope Pugh fans seek it out because it deserves to be watched.
Written and Directed by: Zach Braff
Produced by: Zach Braff, Pamela Koffler, Florence Pugh, Christine Vachon, Christina Piovesan, Noah Segal
Executive Producer: Beverly Rogers
Cast: Florence Pugh, Molly Shannon, Chinaza Uche, Celeste O’Connor, and Morgan Freeman
Rating: Rated R for drug abuse, language throughout and some sexual references
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