BY ALEX GILSTON JANUARY 6, 2024
Good Grief is the brainchild of Dan Levy, the star and co-creator of Schitt’s Creek. The sitcom ran for upwards of 80 episodes and acted as a beacon of light for the queer community. Fans of the show will have been keeping a keen eye on what project he would plunge his creative talents into next. After a brief guest stint on the final season of Sex Education he has landed his first feature film.
It follows Marc (Dan Levy) as he tries to traverse the world after the loss of his husband Oliver (Luke Evans). He embarks on a trip to Paris with his best friends, Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel) to help him overcome his grief. Their friendship is tested, however, as truths long gone unsaid are finally revealed.
Good Grief explores the very thing within its title: grief. It explores the intricacies of the human experience when we lose someone we love. When Marc finds out that Oliver had been hiding something from him before his death his grief becomes more complicated as he reevaluates their relationship and how he should be feeling. This adds an interesting complexity to the narrative as Marc is left in a situation he can’t truly find closure within.
Marc does find solace through his friends though. They support him after Oliver’s death and up to and including the anniversary of it. Good Grief highlights the importance of those we lean on to help us through difficult times, the people who will always be there for us no matter what. The dynamic between Dan Levy, Ruth Negga, and Himesh Patel is one of the strongest aspects of the film. As a trio their deep friendship is immediately believable. Despite Marc being the main focus, both Sophie and Thomas have circumstances that carve them out as individuals. Their collective love for each other is what eventually gets them through. Luke Evans also features in a short but sweet way as Marc’s husband Oliver (and let’s be honest if you had the power to cast Luke Evans as your husband in your film you would).
Some of Dan Levy’s wit finds its way into his screenplay. The light comic nature of Good Grief ends up working. It never delves too far into comedy, the perfect tone is struck between that and the more serious nature of the film. Overall the film is quite sombre, but it’s never melodramatic. The enlightening, emotional, moments feel earnt.
Good Grief is an emotive meditation on loss, love, and most importantly friendship. Life is complicated, and grief only makes it more complicated. The best thing about Dan Levy’s feature debut is that it shows grief isn’t about closure but more about learning how to live alongside it, even using it to enrich it. It may be messy but it’s possible to arrange that mess into a manageable pile.