The Reel Review
More than a year after a heartbreaking tragedy ruined her life, a young woman trying to numb her grief through an opioid addiction starts to finally heal, when a chance encounter with the man who would have been her father-in-law leads them both on an unlikely and often messy journey to emotional recovery. Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman star in this drama.
Actor and now writer/director Zach Braff (Garden State) explores the random cruelty of fate, while also realistically tackling such heady topics as grief, loss, guilt, and addiction. It’s a deeply personal story, loaded with lump in your throat moments, as Pugh again proves why she is one of the great actresses of our era, so authentic as the sad and still at times funny, rudderless Allison. And she sings! As Daniel, a former alcoholic police officer trying to find forgiveness through trauma bonding, Freeman is, as usual, exceptional.
Standouts among the film’s strong supporting cast include Celeste O’Connor (Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Freaky) as Daniel’s strong-willed, orphaned granddaughter that he is struggling to raise on his own, Zoe Lister-Jones (How It Ends) as Allison’s sponsor, and Jackie Hoffman (Glass Onion, Garden State) in a brief but hilarious cameo as Daniel’s tough talking, garden hose-wielding neighbor. Despite a few unlikely plot contrivances, many tears will flow in this heartfelt and thought-provoking story about self-forgiveness, mourning the life that could have been, and learning to accept fate’s unexpected twists. Bring tissues.
• A Good Person writer/director Zach Braff and Florence Pugh remain good friends despite their split in early 2022, after a three year relationship, and after filming the movie.
• The film is dedicated to Braff’s late sister Shoshanah, his late father Harold, and he and Pugh’s close personal friend, actor Nick Cordero, who died in July 2020 of complications from COVID-19, three months after contracting the illness while staying at a guest house at Braff’s residence in Los Angeles.
• South Orange, New Jersey native Zach Braff earned a 2005 Emmy nomination for his starring role in the NBC comedy Scrubs, which aired from 2001 to 2010.
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