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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Dan Levy’s directorial debut in Good Grief gave me anything but grief

This film wasnt perfect, but it encapsulated the waves of grief well.
Netflix
This film wasn’t perfect, but it encapsulated the waves of grief well.

From my experience, smaller, independent movies can be one of two things: either some of the best, most thought-provoking television out there or so dreadful that I have a hard time reaching the end.

I’m familiar with both ends of the spectrum.

With the knowledge that IMDb reviews aren’t necessarily the greatest thing to preemptively judge a film from, the difficult part is that I’m never sure what to expect until I dive in. 

When I first stumbled upon Netflix’s Good Grief, my research—yes, I research movies before I watch them—which informed me that this was an indie film, made me a little bit nervous to pursue the film; I’m not necessarily keen on wasting my time, and I feared that that’s what was going to happen.

However, the thing that kept me intrigued was Dan Levy producing, writing, and starring in it, not to mention this being his directorial debut. From what I’ve seen, his very grounded, down-to-earth personality, creates the ideal environment to build an expressive and poignant film surrounding the enigma of grief.

The movie mainly follows Marc (Dan Levy), an artist who grapples with the new reality after witnessing the sudden death of his husband, Oliver (Luke Evans). After a year of facing his new normal, Marc learns some dark secrets about his marriage that set his grieving course astray and propels him on an unexpected vacation to his husband’s Paris villa. With the support from his friends, Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel), they collectively learn to navigate new and resurfaced feelings of love, pain, and grief. 

From what I’ve seen, his very grounded, down-to-earth personality, creates the ideal environment to build an expressive and poignant film surrounding the enigma of grief.

From the first scene in the film, I was drawn in by the style and ambiance that the characters and set provided. Opening with a warm, welcoming atmosphere at a softly lit party gave me a feel for what to expect from each character; immediately after observing the dynamic of everyone’s friendship, I knew this was going to be a blast to watch, even with the darker theme of the movie. The actors had such amazing chemistry with one another that it truly felt like a documentary of an outgoing friend group confronting the obstacles of life.

Some reviews I’ve scrolled through stated that Sophie’s character is too animated and overacted. But the way that she is visibly in tune with her emotions throughout and provides the perfect amount of comedic relief to deescalate tense situations makes me harshly disagree. 

The only thing I was conflicted about was the pacing of the film at the beginning. Within the first 20 minutes, Marc is already shown to be still visibly distressed over Oliver’s death but is going out to meet people a year later. The timing was strangely quick at first, but the rest of the movie felt a lot more relaxed.

My absolute favorite part was simply the way Marc went about his grieving process. Art and storytelling play a big role in the theme of the film, and I learned soon that Marc had distanced himself from any form of art after an event from his past. On his journey, however, he finally confronts his feelings and gives in to the things that make him uncomfortable. That character development is a really special situation to see in a movie that’s written well—which, thankfully, this was.

Not only was Good Grief an excellent debut for Levy to showcase his incredible work ethic, but it was also a very moving film. A chance to fully discover the ins and outs of grief and the individually unique experiences is something that shouldn’t be missed. 

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About the Contributor
Rowan Szpieg
Rowan Szpieg, Staff Writer
Rowan is entering her first year on The Central Trend as a junior writer. Her love of writing developed in recent years through expressive poetry. Although it is a hobby that assumes a bit of her time already, when she's not sitting back with a new writing piece on her computer, you can find her playing her guitar. Any spare time she has that's not occupied with family or friends is spent learning to play new songs. She also loves to spend her nights under the stars around a bonfire in the summer and laughing too much playing board games in the winter. Rowan is always up for a movie night as a way to share her interest in film. When she's not watching a movie, she has Friends playing in the background on every occasion.   Comfort movie: The Proposal Favorite time of the year: When Christmas music starts to play Favorite book: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom Favorite song to play on guitar: Don't Think Twice, It's All Right by Bob Dylan Has she shortened her watchlist of movies? Not at all! It's still over 300

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