Starring: Daniel Levy, Ruth Negga, Himesh Patel, Luke Evans, Arnaud Valois, David Bradley, and Celia Imrie
Director: Daniel Levy
Good Grief is a stylish and cozy, if slightly forgettable, comedy-drama that is surprisingly light-hearted despite its emotional themes. Firmly planted in rom-com territory, the luxurious interiors and warm lighting channel the affluent sets of Nancy Meyers, and the friendship dynamics and glossy city locations reminded me of Richard Curtis films. Combined with heartfelt and convincing performances, Good Grief is a comforting and easy watch since it avoids delving too deep into the heavier ideas it presents. Whilst it falls short of delivering a satisfying emotional impact, it is a solid debut feature for Daniel Levy.
Between this and Schitt's Creek, it seems like Daniel Levy has a real knack for authentic feel-good sentimentality. However, unlike that show, Good Grief lacks compelling charm outside of its sweetness. Levy's direction is, at worst, competent, and at best, well-thought-out. It's the writing that's the real problem here. It really feels like the message of finding true love after death is kind of an excuse to make people get some cheap feels in a rather wonky film. When the film hits its highs, you do feel something special, but the highs are very few and far between.
While Good Grief is a respectable feature directorial debut from the charming writer/director Daniel Levy, this bittersweet drama falls short of its potential. It succeeds in painting an honest picture of friendship and loss, but at times, it feels underwritten as it struggles to tie those two ideas together. In a way, it has a lot to say and little to feel, but its heart is in the right place. It just tries a little too hard to wrestle with the heavy topics at hand. All in all, it is a whimsical, heartfelt affair despite being far from perfect.