‘A Good Person’ is brilliant in its humorous approach to trauma, but Zach Braff gets out of hand at the last moment
I still can’t understand what could have happened in ‘A good person’, the latest from Zach Braff in his role as director: during two acts he is capable of creating fabulous characters, dealing with trauma through the eyes of the darkest comedy and desperate and learn to forgive, as spectators, a person who is not capable of forgiving himself. It is a wonderful film, one of those that makes your heart soft while still looking for a certain originality in its commonplaces. And then his third act arrives and he apparently forgets the tone he’s had up to that moment for redouble the spectacularity and give one of those “actor” moments that only brings a sad and resounding confusion among the public.
It was an accident
It is strange that no one, during the filming of this film, realized that the great moments of the actors are not necessarily those in which they go berserk, scream, show absolute despair and go crazy. The greatness of this film lies in create gold from the smallest moments: the toy train, the first visit to the detoxification group, the reunion with the outcasts of the institute, the unexpected encounters, a meal where everything goes wrong. It’s understandable: you’ve got Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman at your command, and you want to see what they can do, but these overreactions They don’t fit in a movie that is precisely trying to be a realistic account of guilt, addiction and forgiveness. in all its variants.
‘A good person’ is, in its first act, one of the most intelligent films of the year, showing you a character that from another perspective you could come to hate (everyone does, after all) illuminated by an aura of luminosity. Allison, for the first few bars of her, is funny, endearing, friendly and romantic. They all love her. And if two people died at his hands, it was undoubtedly an accident. If she herself repeats it all the time, almost like a mantra, it must be so, right?
From this moment comes the deconstruction of that personality that we have learned to love in its first bars. What was once light is now shadow: Allison trades humor for self-flagellation, endearing for sordid and love for OxyContin addiction. Only a year has passed, but he is no longer a person, but a spoil that American society has done everything possible to leave aside after turning her into a drug addict: an absolute dystopia that Braff reflects with a certain sarcasm and a lot of concern.
Moved in the Oxy
The best thing about ‘A good person’ is that, when it works, it does so in all its aspects. He is right in the type of humor that he risks using, in the detailed analysis of a character destined for social ostracism (who, to a large extent, falls into the self-fulfilling prophecy of his own depression), in the social denunciation and the double standards of Daniel, who is only capable of forgiving if it works for his own benefit and who, under her “nice person” cloak she is, deep down, just as miserable as Allison herself.
However, the film does not finish deciding with Daniel, who is presented at the same time as overly strict grandfather with a tumultuous past but also as a person who forgives the unforgivable… As long as he is able to see it and intuit it as a test of faith. He is a character full of lights and shadows and the film is aware until in its last bars it seems to forget all the bad things that have come our way, focusing on an endearing facet that he is only capable of showing with Allison, the person who killed his daughterand not so much with his own family.
The strange balance formed between Allison and Daniel, two lost and addicted people who slowly find each other and try to get to know each other, breaks completely with the appearance of the worst character on the tape, a forced Ryan whose actions do not obey any logic (not even the adolescent). She understands the place she wants to get to in the film as a natural evolution of her grandfather’s decisions, but it happens too fast and breaks reality completely, like start of an absolutely devastating third act where all the good intentions and the solid portrayal of the characters are completely blurred.
The opium of the people
It’s not that ‘A Good Person’ is ever hilarious, but it does have moments where it manages a very particular jocular tone within the tragedy that gives it its own personality, at the very least, stimulating. But the film itself decides that it must get serious to bring up a situation that should not necessarily be treated from exacerbated drama, thus weaving its own trap: by changing the tone he makes it clear that he does not know what kind of tape he wants to beand all the theater that had managed to mount falls under its own weight.
That doesn’t mean that Allison and David’s dissection isn’t exciting for most of the footage. It’s not the best addiction story we’ve ever seen, but it might be one of the first where it is clear that the fault of the disease lies with the American medical system itself, following the notices of, for example, ‘Dopesick’. It’s only right that Braff portrays two completely broken people framed in a country that is absolutely fragmented politically and socially.
“Karl Marx was wrong: the opium of the people is the opium”, says a secondary character in one of the best dialogues in a film that between sarcasm and scoundrel tries to reflect on indulgence, loss and how three seconds can change someone’s life forever to the point of creating mental incapacity. ‘A good person’ is a gray story that gets lost in its third actbut it is well worth your attention to attend a show of honesty narrated by a sadly insecure hand.