You know how every time Zach Braff directs a movie, you wonder “who watches these? Who asked for this?” The answer is me. Like many, Garden State had an effect on me that I am embarrassed to admit years later. But that is far less embarrassing than the effect that Braff’s 2013 effort, Wish I Was Here, had on me. And here we are, in 2023, still getting teary-eyed at Zach Braff movies. Sorry! I thought I had changed. But nope – A Good Person proved that I am still the same Logan.
After a traumatic car accident involving fatalities, Allison’s (Pugh) world turns upside down. She loses her job, she becomes addicted to painkillers, and is looking for any way to numb the pain that she still feels over a year later. After she finally realizes she needs help, she runs into the father of one of the victims of the car accident, Daniel (Morgan Freeman). Daniel and Allison form a bond that is healing and triggering for each of them.
Pugh/Freeman = Heavyweights
As mentioned in the beginning, A Good Person, for all of its flaws, worked on me. I found myself captivated by the friendship between Allison and Daniel. How can they possibly be in each other’s lives after such a devastating connection? Do they hold resentment towards one another? Is it better for them to be in contact or not? I was genuinely invested in their road to acceptance and recovery. The investment I had in the story is, of course, largely attributable to its main actors.
Pugh and Freeman are extraordinarily talented actors. Despite there being a wide gap in their career lengths, they prove that they are on the same level here. They breathe life into characters that could have easily been cliches. Not everything about them works but they are turning in such strong performances that it does not affect the story beats in any way. Pugh continues to prove that she is a star. Not just that, but she is consistent. This is such an undervalued trait in movie stars. Between A Good Person and Don’t Worry, Darling, Pugh shows that even when she is in a flawed movie, she is so good.
Familiar From Time to Time
The story itself is a bit repetitive at times but such is the nature of the type of story. There are bumps and roundabouts on the road to recovery. Once you accept that it is part of the story being told, it becomes a lot less bothersome. Additionally, parts of the script veer into saccharine from time to time. But thanks to the actors, they give each line reading a sort of heft that keeps the project on the straight and narrow.
A Good Person is not a movie I would recommend you rush out to see. But it is good. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I cared about Daniel and Allison by the end. Freeman and Pugh share such solid chemistry and you really believe they are who they represent. It is not a perfect movie but I am happy to have watched it. I know it is a movie that my mom will ask if I have seen months from now because “I just watched it on Netflix.” And when she does, I will confidently tell her that I like the movie. I hope you do too.