Grief is an emotion that all of us will expertise sooner or later in our lives. Whether or not it’s as a result of lack of a father or mother, pal, or pet, sorrow is an inevitable a part of the human expertise. Although the best way grief is processed tends to look in a different way for various individuals, all-out avoidance tends to trigger extra issues than meant. That’s the premise of Robert Schwartzman’s emotional dramedy, The Good Half. Schwartzman combines his private experiences with Brett Ryland’s script to ship an expressive showcase of loss and grief in a method that may hit near residence for a lot of. Their examine of grief and its many faces feels honest, even when a bit skewed in direction of one sort.
The story follows Renn Wheeland (Nick Jonas) as he journeys again to Cleveland, Ohio to face the current dying of his mom Lily (Elisabeth Shue). Instantly, we be taught that Renn is in avoidance mode as he lies to a pleasant passenger, Zoey (Alexandra Shipp), about his causes for returning residence. He even asks his Uber driver to take the lengthy option to his childhood home in hopes of escaping his eager-to-talk father Darren (Matt Walsh) and agency, typically uptight sister Leigh (Brittany Snow). None of those small makes an attempt at dodging the elephant within the room work, nevertheless. As an alternative, Renn rapidly learns that the recollections of his mom are all over the place. And before later, he’ll should face them.
Jonas’ method in trying to flee the reminiscence of his mom’s illness and present loss is spectacular, to say the least. Ryland’s writing does properly along with his efficiency technique; it requires a way of allure to execute a number of the extra comedic moments. These situations by no means overshadow the seriousness and significance of the movie’s message, however permit Jonas to shine within the scenes that require a extra refined method in supply. Snow can also be a standout. She operates with a beautiful brilliance that so few actresses possess, and it particularly comes pouring out in a number of the extra emotional scenes.
As Renn and Leigh run errands to finalize the plans for his or her mom’s funeral, the variations within the methods they course of grief manifests itself, virtually to the purpose of being in your face. That’s to not say that there isn’t a balanced method by way of showcasing the totally different strategies, however the script tends to lean in direction of Renn’s evading technique, partly as a result of that is his story in any case. The place the script falters is thru its tendency to villainize how everybody else round Renn processes their grief. Tonally, it feels as if we’re being directed to see Leigh as “too uptight” or his father as “too invasive.” However in actuality, they’re simply making an attempt to get issues accomplished and assist Renn, which he tends to take as a unfavorable.
The comparability of harnessing and embracing grief versus evading it altogether might work underneath regular circumstances. Nevertheless, in The Good Half, we not often get perception into the feelings and actions of aspect characters exterior a number of remoted occurrences. Because of this, the friction that builds between Renn and others can depart you feeling emotionally not sure by way of empathizing with sure characters. Moreover, the resistance and perspective from Renn typically comes off as whiny to the purpose the place it is a bit more difficult to grasp the place he’s coming from.
However that’s sort of the wonder with The Good Half. Grief makes individuals do foolish issues, and it makes them act in methods they in all probability wouldn’t usually. It might even lure individuals emotionally in the event that they’re unable to see issues exterior their very own perspective or fathom what others could also be going by. The essential factor is to guide with compassion even should you’re on the receiving finish of the negativity as a result of shedding a liked one could be debilitating. Even worse, coming to phrases with the tip of life and methods to transfer on from it’s a course of that hits us all in a different way.
The Good Half premiered on the 2023 Tribeca Movie Pageant. The movie is 100 minutes lengthy and never but rated.