Good Grief parents guide

Good Grief Parent Guide

Set up as a tortured emotional drama, this movie feels strangely lifeless.

Overall D+

Netflix: After the sudden death of his husband, Marc and his two best friends travel to Paris for a soul searching trip and face some harsh truths about love, friendship, and grief.

Release date January 5, 2024

Violence B
Sexual Content C
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Good Grief rated R? The MPAA rated Good Grief R for language and brief drug use.

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Marc and Oliver (Dan Levy and Luke Evans) are happily married; the charmed couple in their circle of friends. The two share a lovely home, deep affection, and busy social life. Even their careers mesh: Oliver is a famous author and Marc a gifted artist who illustrates his husband’s books. But when Oliver dies en route to a book signing in Paris, Marc learns that there was more to his husband’s life than he knew.

After a year of complicated grief, Marc decides that some closure is in order. With the two friends who supported him in his loss, he heads to Oliver’s pied-a-terre in Paris for a restorative vacation. Sophia (Ruth Negga) brings her substance abuse issues and poor judgment along for the ride and Thomas (Himesh Patel) carries his longstanding feelings for Marc. As for Marc, uncovering the truth of his husband’s life might be enough to help him deal with more than one piece of unfinished emotional business.

Good Grief is plotted as an intense emotional drama, but it feels like magazine photos brought to life. The interior decors and Parisian street scenes are beautifully composed and carefully shot, but the emotions fail to come across the screen. I cry easily in films but didn’t shed a tear in this one. I can’t tell you why. The actors are committed – Dan Levy has the big, sad eyes of a labrador retriever and Himesh Patel steals every scene he’s in. The script is a bit too fond of having characters declaim their emotions but it’s a forgivable weakness. Somehow, though, the film remains emotionally flat for me.

What managed to get my attention in this film is the negative content. Casual sex is accepted by all the characters, despite the riskiness of some of their behavior and the clearly visible consequences of infidelity. There are twenty sexual expletives (but it somehow feels like more) and several conversations about sex (although without gratuitous detail). There’s also plenty of substance use in the movie, with characters drinking frequently, and sometimes heavily, smoking cigarettes, and using drugs. Combine substance use with fecklessness, as Sophie does on several occasions, and you have a recipe for disaster. Sophie’s only lucky her rock bottom isn’t any lower.

On the plus side, this is a movie that celebrates loyalty, forgiveness, and personal growth. Marc, Sophie, and Thomas might have plenty of reasons for conflict, but they are patient, compassionate, and willing to forgive over the long haul. It’s an appealing collection of positive traits, wrapped up in an attractive package. It’s too bad it feels so hollow.

Directed by Dan Levy. Starring Dan Levy, Ruth Negga, Himesh Patel. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release January 5, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Good Grief

Good Grief
Rating & Content Info

Why is Good Grief rated R? Good Grief is rated R by the MPAA for language and brief drug use.

Violence: The aftermath of a fatal car accident is briefly shown on-screen without blood or injury detail. A woman tells about her uncle’s death at the hands of the mafia.
Sexual Content: The film is based on a gay marriage and the death of one of the partners. People discuss sexually explicit films, with brief non-anatomical detail. Gay spouses kiss each other. Two men kiss after getting engaged. A woman wears a dress with deep cleavage. There’s brief reference to someone’s nude photos. Potential infidelity is part of the plot as is an “open marriage”.  A person briefly mentions prostitutes and sex toys.
Profanity: The script contains twenty sexual expletives, eight terms of deity, four scatological curses, and a handful of minor profanities. A crude term for women’s breasts is used. A person is described as a “slut”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol in social situations and are sometimes intoxicated. A person uses an unspecified drug and offers some to a main character, who refuses. Adults smoke cigarettes. A main character is high after using MDMA.

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