Fans of Schitt's Creek's Dan Levy might have hoped for more from his feature directorial debut, but this drama has enough to make its characters, central ideas, and locations a compelling watch.
Good Grief aims to craft a heartfelt portrayal of the processes of grief and adulting in your thirties. Its trio of lead characters, best friends with complicated and intertwined love lives, are the kind of flawed but always-there-for-you relationships you might hope to have in your own life. (The lovely and likable Negga and Patel make sure of this.)
Likewise, Levy's gorgeously curated settings and wardrobes, beginning with an overly staged opening holiday party scene and traveling from London to a Parisian flat at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, dream up a privileged world that it's hard to blame anyone for wanting to live in.
His character does inhabit this world, which could make him less relatable for some viewers (imagine the Schitts having never lost their privilege). Levy's aware of this -- his character is called a "spoiled brat" by his best friend, and the third friend's partying goes from kooky to problematic.
But the film isn't fully capable of piercing through its construction of this idealized world to convey the genuine study of love and loss it proposes. It's not until a scene deep into the tale where Levy and a new love interest, played by Arnaud Valois, share secrets over a late-night meal that it dawns on you the film hasn't yet allowed any of its characters this much profundity.
The third act aims to remedy this by gently deconstructing what's been set up in the first two acts, just as its core threesome has to crack through the identities they've created to move on with their lives.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media
Images courtesy of Netflix