Good Grief (2024) – Movie Review

In “Good Grief,” the universality of loneliness is explored, whether single due to death, a break-up, rejection, or just never getting to be “The One.”


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Oliver (Luke Evans), Thomas (Himesh Patel), Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Marc (Dan Levy)

Plot Summary

With the death of his husband, around Christmas, within an eyeshot of a window in their home, Marc spirals a bit. Oliver was the love of his life, the person to whom he dedicated a lot of his time, and then he was gone.

Luckily, Marc has Sophie, who is a bit of a mess but a lovely person, and Thomas, who is Marc’s ex and one of the most steady people he knows. They do their best to give what they bring to Marc’s life, amped up so he can get ready to be out there and live again.

However, a letter Oliver left, revealing a secret to Marc, truly jumpstarts his life and is the catalyst for him to move on.

Content Information

  • Dialog: Cursing
  • Violence: Nothing Notable
  • Sexual Content: Nothing Notable
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking, Smoking

General Information

Director(s)

Daniel Levy

Screenplay By

Daniel Levy

Based On Work By

N/A

Date Released

January 5, 2024

How To Watch

Netflix

Genre(s)

Comedy

Drama

Romance

LGBT+

Film Length

1 Hour 40 Minutes

Content Rating

Rated R

Noted Characters and Cast

Marc

Dan Levy

Oliver

Luke Evans

Theo

Arnaud Valois

Thomas

Himesh Patel

Sophie

Ruth Negga

Imelda

Celia Imrie

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Marc (Dan Levy)

Marc (Dan Levy)
Good Grief. Daniel Levy (writer/director/producer) stars as Marc in Good Grief. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.

An artist, though not as active as he used to be, Marc likes to let things go and pass on challenging emotions and conversations, and not just for the sake of peace. Sometimes, it seems Marc would rather the simplicity of accepting how someone is than challenging them to be better or at least take note of how their actions affect him more.

Oliver (Luke Evans)

A writer of a major book franchise that led to a hit movie franchise, Oliver was beloved. However, how he processed that love led to complicated feelings for some.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Our Son.”

Theo (Arnaud Valois)

Theo is one of the first people, after Oliver, to take an interest in Marc. However, with him being from France, the initial interaction is intriguing, but it also has bad timing.

Thomas (Himesh Patel)

A Gallerist for a living, Thomas is Marc’s ex turned one of his best friends who is always reliable, and that causes him to find certain aspects of his dating history challenging.

Sophie (Ruth Negga)

Sophie is the lively extrovert of Marc’s friend group who is a bit of a mystery, but because of her zest for life, trouble, and a touch of madness, you find yourself not holding her accountable as much as she needs to be.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Passing.”

Imelda (Celia Imrie)

Imelda manages Oliver’s estate and assists Marc with his money.

Collected Quote(s)

[…] isn’t art a kind of commemoration of pain?
— Theo

To avoid sadness is to avoid love.
— Imelda

Review


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Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Highlights

The Conversations Regarding Loneliness

With the majority of characters being in their 30s, they have hit that difficult time where, monetarily, you can be stable, have your own place, and check off many of the boxes. Yet, you are single or, while you have all the opportunities not to be, no one seems like the right choice. So, it can feel like you’re settling or picking something safe just because you know what it is like out there, and having something steady is nice.

It’s all fascinating to see play out, whether it is Marc who made concessions in his relationship, for he isn’t used to someone like Oliver finding him not only attractive but interesting enough to pursue above others.

Then, with Imelda, she presents the angle many adopt where, because they loved once, there seemed to be a satisfaction in that, and it allowed their next committed relationship to be their job or business. Which, as she makes clear, can satisfy you but only for so long until you realize you’ve created a void for yourself.

Which brings us to the polar opposite issues that Sophie and Thomas contend with. I think many of us either know or are Thomas who may not market ourselves as remarkable as we are, so we feel passed over. We see friends, family, exes, and people who don’t do as much as we would chosen, and so we become meek. Do we still try to put ourselves out there? Yes, but we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of it not going well, even if a secret part of us is excited about the few times it seemingly could.

This leads us to Sophie. What “Good Grief” seemingly wants to do is cover its bases, and while through Marc, Thomas, and even Imelda, there is a push towards people who love and lost and now find themselves unsure if love is a once-in-a-lifetime event, then there are the Sophie types. Those who can have bad dating profiles can be messy and yet be found charming and attractive enough never to have a gap between partners of any variety unless they so choose.

Yet, even she seems to deal with a form of loneliness in that she doesn’t operate well alone. It forces her to deal with her identity, struggles, and insecurities, whether internal or with her relationships. It paints the idea that the life of the party, the person who seemingly has an effortless time with romance, they are struggling in some form, too. It’s just your envy can get in the way of seeing it.

And to watch all of this makes you very contemplative, especially if you’re single, and you are pushed to question how you are handling it and what you are going to do about it? Will you marry your work, continue to put yourself out there in hopes of meeting the one or at least someone good enough? Perhaps you are scared of the idea of forever, to the point of rejecting it?

Each character presents something to think about. In many ways, their grief goes beyond Oliver and more into the relationships they didn’t pursue or didn’t last.

On The Fence

Wishing You Had A Bit More Backstory On Sophie

Sophie (Ruth Negga)
Good Grief. Ruth Negga as Sophie in Good Grief. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.

Because Ruth Negga plays a character who is a bit more upbeat than the men of the film and doesn’t feel as transparent, it’s very easy to get drawn to her. Unlike Marc, who is the lead, you don’t get her backstory or really even get to know what she does for a living. Then, unlike Thomas, she isn’t plain and simple to the point where you can feel like you instantly know them because they play a role that isn’t generic but certainly familiar.

So when it comes to Sophie, the outlier in a film where most struggle with love, it’s difficult to accept not getting to understand why she is like this, what her influences are, and when you do get to see behind the curtain, not get more of that vulnerability. Especially since, unlike the men in the film, it seems for the women, like Sophie and Imelda, it is earned, but while Imelda gets to break down her life, Sophie doesn’t.

Good If You Like

  • Dramas about romance, which focus more on the grief it can cause than the pursuit of it

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Good Grief (2024) – Movie Review

Summary

In many ways, it is better to have “Good Grief” come out in January than February, as it can hit a nerve if you are unprepared. For as it doesn’t quickly rush by negative feelings which come with dating, but dwells a bit, it forces you to acknowledge any and all struggles you have had and your response to said struggles.

Overall
80%
80%
  • The Conversations Regarding Loneliness - 83%
    83%
  • Wishing You Had A Bit More Backstory On Sophie - 77%
    77%

Highlight(s)

  • The Conversations Regarding Loneliness

Disputable

  • Wishing You Had A Bit More Backstory On Sophie

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