Good Grief (2023) Movie Review – Dan Levy tries, but can’t make an emotional film directorial debut

Dan Levy tries, but can’t make an emotional film directorial debut

Good Grief is Dan Levy’s directorial film debut. It had a limited release in December 2023 and is now available to stream on Netflix. The comedy-drama focuses on Marc (Dan Levy), who loses his husband Oliver (Luke Evans) during a Christmas party with his friends. However, there’s a twist that makes the plot even more interesting. Marc discovers his husband met someone else on a trip to Paris.

Good Grief tells a tale about grieving someone you love and how finding new parts of that person affects your grief. It does have a few emotional moments here and there, but it ultimately lacks the depth it could have. Another of the movie’s problems is being able to balance the comedy and the drama perfectly. 

Oliver’s funeral exemplifies that perfectly. We get a beautiful speech by his father, Duncan (David Bradley). He talks about how he ended up being an adversary to his son sometimes instead of an ally. Even though everything worked out for his son, he isn’t able to say he helped him in any way. That hurts especially because it’s easy for many people to relate to that kind of speech.

However, while you watch that, it’s hard to forget you saw Kaitlyn Dever giving one of her worst performances ever in an out-of-place joke about how Oliver’s death would ruin her career.

The start still gets most things right. You learn more about Marc’s friends, each with a complex situation involving their love life. You also get many jokes that work and make you laugh like crazy. The problems start to appear when Dan Levy’s character wants to find out who his husband met. He invites Sophie and Thomas on a trip to Paris on a secret mission to confront the man.

This would be the first time to explore Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel), Marc’s friends. However, that doesn’t happen. They have their own desires and complexities, but they only end up being superficial too. The problem is that the movie doesn’t want to take its time to develop them. They express their thoughts but we don’t go in-depth or see them act on it. So, by the end, it feels like simply they solve all of their problems with ease.

 During the trip, we also see Theo (Arnaud Valois), Marc’s new potential love interest. His dialogue is important and interesting at times, but the character is so bland you can’t wait for him to go away. You never feel the chemistry between him and the protagonist, which is sad because he is a big part of Marc’s development.

Good Grief feels like a bunch of missed opportunities at times. You have characters and moments that could be complex and impact you, but none of them reach that level. Paris has the biggest amount of scenes that could have been more powerful but ends up disappointing the viewer.

After a failed date on the first day of the trip, the characters are at odds with each other. The time for them to express their feelings and discuss everything finally comes. However, there isn’t much of them discussing, which makes the scene just a mess of random thoughts, none of them getting to you. When the awkward arrival of Luca, Oliver’s lover, interrupts them, the act ends as apathetic as it started.

Luca is a difficult subject. The whole trip happens because of him, but he has little importance in the overall plot. The characters share a quiet meal and leave. The little he has to say about Marc or Oliver are things we already know. What should be one of the highest points of the film is another scene incapable of delivering any strong emotion.

The main cast is amazing. They are all acting with as much heart as they can, and you see that easily. However, the script doesn’t have enough depth to make you care about their struggles. Characters laugh and cry, stuff happens, and the credits roll. Dan Levy clearly knows how to build a good structure for his story, but he needs to make it strong enough to make you feel the way he wants you to.


Read More: Good Grief Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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