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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Good Grief ****


Starring: Dan Levy, Ruth Negga, Himesh Patel, Luke Evans 

Director: Dan Levy

Country: USA

UK Release: Netflix

 

In the directorial debut from Schitts Creek’s Dan Levy, the comedy legend also stars as Marc, an American in London with the perfect husband, Oliver (Evans – Beauty And The Beast, The Hobbit franchise). When the latter is killed in a tragic accident, Marc spends the next year grieving deeply, supported by his best friends Sophie (Negga – Passing, Loving) and Thomas (Patel – Yesterday, Don’t Look Up), only to find his world-view shattered when he opens a Christmas card given to him that night. Following the breadcrumbs to an apartment in Paris, Marc must decide how much to let this catastrophe define who he is now going to be.


We’ve seen this narrative many times before in numerous guises, but it’s Levy’s ability to make even the most solemn moments darkly comic that makes this an entertaining watch. Oliver was a successful YA fiction writer, so watching publishers and lawyers desperately trying to squeeze his legacy for all its worth is almost as uncomfortably funny as seeing the teen star of the movie adaptations of his work turn his funeral eulogy into miserable self-aggrandisement. And Levy is perfectly deadpan throughout.


Comedies about grief have historically either veered toward being downright silly or somewhat distasteful, but this manages to avoid both entirely, with Marc’s grieving process centre stage in a pitch perfect performance by Levy. Meanwhile, Luke Evans proves perfectly how real movie stars are indeed demigods far above us mere mortals, oozing effortless charisma and sparkling panache.


There is no doubt that Dan Levy has become one of the biggest LGBT+ assets in comedy. While Good Grief doesn’t rewrite the rulebook, it does underline his ability to create beautifully nuanced humour that feels, most importantly, human. It might not roll out the belly laughs, but it will certainly make you chuckle even while you’re emoting deeply.

 

UK Release: Out now to watch on VOD on Netflix

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