Dan Levy’s upcoming Netflix film Good Grief is an ambitious exploration of sudden loss and finding strength in found family – but what do the reviews say?
Schitt’s Creek star Levy wrote, directed and produced Good Grief, in which he also stars as former artist Marc, who must start afresh after his successful husband, played by Luke Evans, dies in a car accident.
The cast also includes Ruth Negga as Marc’s commitment-phobic best friend Sophie and Himesh Patel as ex-boyfriend turned confidante Thomas. The trio embark on journeys of self-discovery when they head off on an impromptu trip to Paris.
Despite the heart-wrenching premise, some critics have voiced doubts about the execution of the film, with The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney describing it as “more earnest than affecting”.
The review criticised “ill-fitting” cameos from Emma Corrin, who plays a wild performance artist, and Kaitlyn Dever, who appears as a self-centred actor.
“[Levy] hasn’t managed to flesh out all the emo talk into compelling drama, making a film that’s passable as streaming fodder though not sufficiently distinctive to draw you in and make you care much about its characters,” the review continued.
Meanwhile, The Telegraph‘s Tim Robey, who awarded Good Grief three stars our of five, described the film as an “earnest, overcast take on gay love and loss”.
While it lauded the drama as a “gentle, genial watch” and notably praised Patel’s “natural” acting, dubbing him a “rock-solid asset”, the reviewer believed it didn’t quite hit the right spot.
The first reviews are in for Dan levy’s Good Grief. (Netflix)
“There’s something ever-so-chic, a touch too manicured about the film’s despondency, and only rare moments land to touch us,” the critic concluded.
However, others reviews were more positive, with the director pulling together “a smart, sensitive original feature”, according to Variety‘s Peter Debruge.
“Levy’s debut sees him levelling up as a more serious storyteller than we’d given him credit for,” the review states, praising the Canadian actor for proving he is more than just a comedian, with his “vulnerable and wise” storytelling.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond exressed similar sentiments, branding Levy an “assured talent” and “quadruple threat” for his nuanced and measured approach to grief. The publication also showered praise on Negga and Patel, saying they “steal” every scene they are in.
Dan Levy (L) stars with Luke Evans as a grieving gay man in Good Grief. (Netflix)
“Levy’s ability for directing actors and giving them juicy roles is evident immediately with choice turns by both Negga, sensational as the freewheeling and fun Sophie, and Patel, who is completely believable as he winds himself up in a frenzy at the unexpected actions of his buddies,” the critic wrote.
In a recent interview with PinkNews, Levy spoke of his hope that Good Grief connects with LGBTQ+ audiences.
“I love to write stories about my life, the lives of my friends, the lives of the people I know, as truthfully as I possibly can,” he said, “so that someone at home, whom I’ve never met, but [who] has shared a similar path in life, might be comforted in knowing there is a point of connection between [us], that they exist in the world for people to see.”
Good Grief premieres on Netflix on Friday (5 January).