A Good Person parents guide

A Good Person Parent Guide

Powerful performances, lots of negative content, and disturbing material. One out of three isn't enough.

Overall D+

Theaters: After a horrible tragedy, a young woman struggles with opioid addiction, forgiveness, and moving on.

Release date March 31, 2023

Violence C+
Sexual Content C+
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is A Good Person rated R? The MPAA rated A Good Person R for drug abuse, language throughout and some sexual references.

Run Time: 129 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Joyfully anticipating her upcoming wedding to Nathan (Chinaza Uche), Allison (Florence Pugh) drives off to try on wedding dresses. In the car with her are Nathan’s sister, Molly (Nichelle Hines) and her husband, Jesse (Toby Onwumere). In a split second, everything changes – an accident in a construction zone leaves Molly and Jesse dead and Allison drowning in a sea of grief and guilt.

A year later, Allison’s life is bleak. Engagement broken, she’s living with her mother (Molly Shannon) and struggling with addiction to Oxycontin. In a desperate search for help, she goes to an AA meeting, where she runs into Nathan’s father, Daniel (Morgan Freeman), who is battling his own demons and trying to raise his orphaned granddaughter, Ryan (Celeste O’Connor). Daniel reaches out to help Allison, but their shared tragedy continues to sow division and suffering.

I will admit up front that I don’t understand the appeal of movies about addiction (or cancer for that matter) but these topics continue to inspire filmmakers. A Good Person is a wrenchingly sad film, which is understandable since its subject matter is tragic. I’m just not sure who is going to want to watch it. I can’t imagine that recovering addicts or their family members want to revisit all the pain and suffering they finally left behind. I don’t think most filmgoers want to spend two hours immersed in misery and despair. The audience that would benefit from this film is teenagers who need to understand the true horrors of drug addiction - but this film has far too much negative content for an underage audience.

Boy oh boy, is the negative content here a doozy. Profanity is ubiquitous, with 95 sexual expletives and another four dozen swear words. Main characters are shown smoking, drinking to the point of intoxication, and using drugs – either swallowing illicit painkillers, snorting drugs, or smoking heroin. An underage character is also shown under the influence of an unspecified substance. Adults are seen in bed together (without nudity) and a teenage girl is twice discovered in bed with an adult man (again without explicit content). There’s even some violence in scenes where a man is punched in the face, grabbed by the neck, and threatened with a handgun. There are no free spots in this movie’s content bingo card.

Plaudits for this film go to the cast, who are almost universally good. (Molly Shannon struggles as Allison’s mother, but I think her role is poorly written.) Morgan Freeman is one of America’s greatest actors, and in this film you can watch him visibly age in a matter of seconds. He brings sincerity and gravitas to his complex, messy character and emotionally grounds the entire film. Florence Pugh once again demonstrates that she is one of her generation’s best as she delivers a fierce, vulnerable, gutsy performance as a broken woman who tries to heal.

There’s definitely a need for movies that explore the hard realities of being human, the tragedies that ravage people’s lives, and our desperate need for forgiveness, hope, and courage. Adult audiences at the multiplex need more to choose from than one spandex-suited superhero after another. But couldn’t we get grown-up stories with less profanity and on-screen drug use? Honestly, the stories would be just as powerful and I would be happy to recommend them. Thanks to the negative content, I can’t recommend A Good Person. But I wish I could.

Directed by Zach Braff. Starring Florence Pugh, Morgan Freeman, Celeste O'Connor. Running time: 129 minutes. Theatrical release March 31, 2023. Updated

A Good Person
Rating & Content Info

Why is A Good Person rated R? A Good Person is rated R by the MPAA for drug abuse, language throughout and some sexual references.

Violence: Two women grapple with each other, cracking a pane of glass. The movie screen blacks out immediately before a car accident takes place. There is mention of fatalities in the accident. A woman is seen in a hospital bed with a bandage on her head and bloody scrapes and bruises on her face. A man grabs another man by the throat and pushes him against a wall. A man punches a man in the face. A main character points a handgun at someone. After being insulted, a teenage girl punches an opponent in a sports event. One teenager spits on another. There is an incomplete suicide attempt in the movie: there are no injuries or lasting effects. A person talks about his personal and family history of child abuse, specifically beating and injuring children while intoxicated.
Sexual Content: A woman is seen in high cut underwear: her fiancé kisses her lower buttock before the two embrace and kiss in bed (with no further explicit activity). A 16-year-old girl is twice seen in bed with a 20 year old man. There is no explicit activity or nudity but her bra is visible in one scene. There is a brief discussion about contraception.
Profanity:  The script contains over 95 sexual expletives, 19 scatological curses, a dozen terms of deity, a smattering of minor profanities, and a couple of crude anatomical expressions. A demeaning term for women is also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters are shown drinking alcohol in social functions and becoming intoxicated. Adults also drink alcohol to numb emotional pain. A character shares his personal and family history of alcoholism, including mention of blackouts and violent behavior. A main character is addicted to oxycontin and engages in drug-seeking behaviors. A woman swallows illicit pills and also crushes and snorts them. She is seen snorting an unidentified drug. There is an attempted suicide attempt which the person aborts before suffering harm. A main character smokes heroin. Adults are briefly seen smoking cigarettes. There’s mention of someone’s dependence on anti-anxiety medication. A character chugs what looks like cough syrup.

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A Good Person Parents' Guide

Why is the movie titled “A Good Person”? To whom do you think the title refers? Do you think Daniel and/or Allison are good people? What do you think their journeys show about redemption?

Do you think that Daniel is correct when he says that some things can’t be forgiven? Does he forgive Allison or does he simply move on? Is Allison able to forgive herself? What are your beliefs about forgiving others?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

If you simply can’t get enough of heartwrenching movies about addiction, you can watch Beautiful Boy, 28 Days, Four Good Days, or Hillbilly Elegy