dir: Daniel Levy
So, with the new year freshly upon us, I thought in the spirit of new beginnings and optimism, I’d watch and review a movie about a dour group of depressed people navigating grief and loss in their late 30s early 40s.
Good Grief is perhaps the laziest play on words you could imagine, while also being a keen Charlie Brown - Peanuts reference that, yes, is mostly about a character dealing with his grief over the recent death of his husband Oliver (Luke Evans).
But really the film is mostly about not dealing with grief.
Our introduction is a delightful Christmas party where Oliver bullies people into singing individual parts for a singalong, except for the one person Sophie (the great Ruth Negga) who he insults by giving her a handcrafted pair of maracas to play, since she is, by all estimations, tone deaf. Oliver is charming and a force of nature, and beloved by all, so it’s triply cruel that mere minutes after saying goodbye to his husband Marc (Dan Levy, who also directs), he is killed in a car accident.
Now, these details shouldn’t be important, but they’re important to me: Oliver was the very successful author of a bunch of books that, considering the economic comfort within which the main character is cocooned in, probably makes him the equivalent of a Suzanne Collins / Rick Riordan YA author, rather than a JK Rowling-level threat to the aristocracy. And, this was very nice of him, he even got something for his husband Marc to do by having him do the illustrations in his books, which are a successful movie franchise as well.
The greater meaning behind it is that Marc had previously been a successful painter, or at least someone who painted. But, for whatever reasons (grief, derr, obviously), he stopped painting after his mother died. And instead of ever doing paintings again, he relied on his husband for work and remodelled the kitchen every time Oliver dropped a new bestseller.
Probably not healthy. And now that his husband is dead, well, Marc doesn’t know what to do with himself, and spends a year not doing anything.