Dan Levy’s first film as a director was released on Netflix last Friday
Marc is an artist trying to get over the sudden death of his husband, Oliver, a famous writer. Before selling the apartment Oliver had bought in Paris, the young widower decides to take his two friends Thomas and Sophie on a weekend trip. There, they unveil their darkest secrets, both to each other and to themselves.
Dan Levy is best known for his role as David Rose in the sitcom Schitt’s Creek. On January 5, 2024, his first film as a director was released worldwide on Netflix. His debut also stars Ruth Negga, Himesh Patel, and Luke Evans.
To make a film about grief that is touching without being viscerally dramatic, that maintains a certain lightness: this is the ambitious challenge that Dan Levy set himself for his directorial debut. It was a risky gamble and sadly, it falls a bit flat.
Dan Levy takes charge of the film with a timid grip: you can barely feel the direction. The shots all look the same. There’s little originality in the choice of lighting. The decor often feels like cardboard. Marc and Oliver’s house, for example, looks more like an IKEA catalog than someone’s home. If the film is assertive in its themes, few risks are taken visually.
Levy also wrote the film, and while the dialogue can’t be described as bad, the script lacks in characterization. To cite only the most glaring example, Thomas and Sophie’s arcs are under-exploited, especially for the space they occupy in the overall story.
Good Grief has its moments. The occasional line of dialog, one shot or two, that tingle the hearts of the spectators. But there aren’t many. This doesn’t make the movie bad in the sense that it is a bad time. It is just not the emotional and distinct piece of fiction that it was perhaps intended to be.
CREDITS: Text by Malena Cortizo A.