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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 23, 2023



FLORENCE PUGH got an Oscar nomination for the last remake of “Little Women”. She also made an impression in such films as “Midsommar”, “Malevolent”, “The Commuter”, "The Wonder" and “Black Widow”. 

Florence is always good, even in silly movies like “Don’t Worry Darling” that doesn’t serve her career well. 

She now stars with Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman in “A Good Person”, an engrossing drama written and directed by  actor-director Zach Braff, who was Florence’s boyfriend while they were shooting the film but they have since called it quits.

Florence plays Allison, who’s about to wed her high school sweetheart, Nathan (Chinaza Uche, a Nigerian actor born in Scotland but now works in the U.S. and best known for the TV series about poet Emily Dickinson). 

She is on her way to try on her wedding gown with Nathan’s sister and husband. 

While driving her car on the New Jersey turnpike, she makes the mistake of checking on her cellphone. This results in a fatal car crash that tragically kills her two passengers. 

In the next scene, we learn that Allison is already addicted to the opioid painkiller called oxycontin which was given to her after the accident. Grief stricken, she cannot move on in her life. 

This worries her mom (Molly Shannon), who flushes down into the toilet all her oxy tablets, making her resort to other means of getting it. 

We also learn that she has chosen to break up with Nathan, has likewise resigned from her job, and is now a bum.

Realizing that she is addicted to opioids, she goes to an AA support group and meets Daniel (Morgan Freeman), the father of Nathan who is a recovering alcoholic himself. 

She decides to leave, but Daniel stops her and persuades her to stay.

A friendship unexpectedly develops between them. Daniel is having difficulty raising his grandchild, Ryan (Celeste O’Connor), the orphaned teenage daughter of Nathan’s sister who is also having a hard time accepting that both of her parents died in the tragic accident.

She visits Daniel’s home once and when Ryan sees her, the girl loses her cool and angrily blames her for killing her parents. 

Daniel, a former cop, says that he was very cruel to Nathan as a child, even causing an injury that made him deaf.

It’s clear that the major characters in the movie are all damaged, afflicted with guilt, hang ups and serious parental issues. But this is a movie about reconciliation and redemption and all the knots in the story are beautifully resolved at film’s end through friendships, hope, acceptance and forgiveness.

This is an earnest, serious piece of filmmaking told with touches of humor every now and then. 

The main source of pleasure is in watching Florence and Morgan face up and then eventually come around to each other as two bruised souls whose fates get intertwined.

It’s not an instant thing but develops with a series of tentative advances and retreats that reveal their respective strengths and weaknesses.

All throughout her grief, Allison just refuses to accept the fact that the accident is actually her fault, but Daniel finally gets the chance to make her face the truth and they work their way to acceptance. 

Both Florence and Morgan give very heartwarmingly affecting portrayals of their respective roles. Thanks to Braff’s sensitive direction that makes us empathize and root for them.

It’s another compelling performance from Florence who never loses her edge no matter how lousy the role assigned to her is, like in “Don’t Worry Darling”.

There’s a good scene here at a bar where she is confronted by two guys who say they’re her former classmates. 

They’re now drug dealers and they humiliate her about her downfall from the self-confident, uppity girl they know who used to snob them in school. 

Florence’s reaction is a real gem. “I didn’t think I was better than you,” she tells them matter of factly. “I knew it.”

Morgan Freeman has been doing lots of thankless roles lately, like his villain roles in “Vanquish” and “The Hitman Wife’s Bodyguard”, so we are glad that he’s finally given a significant lead role in “A Good Person”. 

He manages to combine finely nuanced elements of both quiet dignity and desperation in his role as a former alcoholic with many regrets in his life who’s now trying to make amends and redeem himself. 

His own therapy is reconstructing train sets and villages in his basement where he can create and control the kind of world he wishes.

Giving them superb support are Uche as the always well-meaning Nathan, Celeste O’Connor as the rebellious volatile Ryan, Molly Shannon as Allison’s caring mom Diane who never gives up on her, and Zoe Lister Jones as Allison’s very understanding and sympathetic counselor.