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Starring: Florence Pugh, Morgan Freeman, Molly Shannon, Celeste O’Connor, Zoe Lister-Jones
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Drama written and directed by Zach Braff. A Good Person (2023) follows Allison (Florence Pugh), whose life falls apart following her involvement in a fatal accident. In the following years, she forms an unlikely friendship with her would-be father-in-law, Daniel (Morgan Freeman). As grief-stricken Daniel navigates raising his teenage granddaughter, and Allison seeks redemption, they discover that friendship, forgiveness, and hope can flourish in unlikely places.
Daniel: In Herman Williams seminal work on the joys of being a model train hobbyist, he writes, “Many an hour have I spent blissfully lost in a world of my own creation. For the model train enthusiast, there exists a secret world of order and symmetry. Nestled into the corners of our basements and attics, we lord over a world where the hobbyist plays omnipotent creator. There, in 1:87 scale, the neighbors are always kind. The lovers always end up together. And the trains always take you to the far-off places you always swore you’d go.” In life, of course, nothing is nearly as neat and tidy.
Nathan: Allison. Every memory I cherish in my life has you in it. Some of them are just tiny seconds.
Ryan: You got me here so early.
Daniel: Yeah, well, it’s better to be a half hour early than one minute late.
Allison: [after the car accident, in the hospital] What is he talking about? It wasn’t my fault.
Nathan: Officer, she doesn’t know.
Diane: It wasn’t her fault.
Statetrooper: With an accident of this magnitude involving fatalities, we’re required…
Nathan: She hasn’t been told.
Diane: She hasn’t been told, you f***ing a**hole! She didn’t know!
Allison: Nathan, what’s going on?
Nathan: [referring to Molly and Jesse] They’re gone. They’re both gone.
Allison: Who’s gone?
Diane: What the hell did you do to your hair?
Allison: What? It’s makeover Monday.
Diane: It’s Friday.
Diane: I just don’t understand why you would cut your own hair.
Allison: Well, the girl said it was easy, and it was not.
Diane: What girl?
Allison: This girl on the Internet. She’s an influencer. She influenced me.
Allison: Hey, Mama, can you tell me where my pills are?
Diane: Which ones? We said we were going to wean off of them. Remember?
Allison: Did we?
Allison: Because “we” are in pain, and “we” need more.
Diane: They’re not going to give you more, Allie.
Allison: They have to!
Diane: No, they don’t.
Allison: I need them!
Diane: Allie, I don’t like how you’re acting. You know what? Enough is enough. You got to get out of this living room, take off your pajamas, and get your a**, and go get a job. I’m sick of this crap.
'It's better to be a half hour early than one minute late.' - Daniel (A Good Person) Click To Tweet
Pharmacist Christine: It says here you are out of refills. I see you’ve been on them for over a year now. Your doctor’s probably trying to wean you off of them. As I’m sure you know, they can be very addictive.
Allison: Oh, really? I hadn’t f***ing heard that.
Becka: Karl Marx was wrong. Turns out the opiate of the masses is opium.
Becka: Allie, please tell me you didn’t invite me to breakfast to hit me up for pills.
Becka: If you have a problem, you need to get some help. I can help you find the right rehab.
Allison: Please don’t hand me a pamphlet. I already have one.
Becka: Well, then find them on the street if you have to. Every dive bar in this town’s got a guy with a pharmacy in his front pocket.
Becka: Allison, are you trying to blackmail me for OxyContin?
Allison: I’m just asking you for help. Like as a friend.
'There are some things that are just impossible to forgive. I do believe even God knows that.' - Daniel (A Good Person) Click To Tweet
Becka: Allie, you need help. Destroy my life if you have to. But for the love of God, get some f***ing help!
Diego: She was in that accident on the turnpike. Two people died.
Mark: Holy s**t. That was you. Oh, bro. That would’ve f***ed me up.
Allison: It wasn’t my fault.
Mark: Yeah, I’m sure. But like still.
Allison: I just want to get as far away from here as possible.
Mark: I can’t seem to escape this town. It’s like there’s a force field around it or something. Like some people know how to get out of here. But the rest of us, we just keep banging our heads up against the glass.
'Comparison is the thief of joy.' - Daniel (A Good Person) Click To Tweet
Diego: [to Allison] So you’re like single?
Mark: Yoh. Shut the f*** up, Diego. What? You think she’s going to date you? Where are you going to take her? You live with your mom.
Mark: We’re not used to having pretty girls such as yourself come in here. So, you got to excuse his lack of decor.
Allison: “Decor” is the Bud Light lamp above my head. “Decorum” is his behavior. Neither is currently ideal.
Allison: Hey, can I ask you something like between us old friends?
Diego: You weren’t our friend. You were popular. You were a b**ch.
Mark: Those of us stuck behind this force field, we got to stick together.
Allison: Yeah. Do you know where I could get some Oxy?
Mark: Goddamn, girl. No foreplay. No nothing. No “How are you? How’s your family?”
Mark: Wait. Allie Johnson. Miss lovely Allie Johnson. You just stroll in here. You got no money. And you expect us to get you Oxy? For free. And then you want us to pay for your drink. Why the f*** would we do that?
Allison: Nostalgia? Old friends?
'Down here in 1:87 scale, the lovers always kiss, the neighbors are always kind, and the trains always take you to the far-off places you always swore you'd go. In life, of course, nothing is nearly as neat and tidy.' - Daniel Click To Tweet
Allison: I didn’t think I was better than you. I knew it. I looked down on guys like you. I thought you were Jersey trash that would never be able to make it out of town.
Diego: F***ing b**ch.
Mark: But now you’re sitting here right beside us, and you’re looking for a fix.
Allison: A favor.
Mark: The favor is a fix.
Mark: You’re a f***ing junkie.
Allison: No. I’m not like you.
Mark: Allie Johnson, you’re so much more like who you think we are than we actually are.
Mark: Say it. “I’m a f***ing junkie.” You might like it.
Allison: F*** you. It’s a pill.
Mark: It’s heroin in a pretty little dress.
Mark: Look me in the eyes, and say, “I’m a f***ing junkie.”
Diego: Say it!
Allison: I’m a f***ing junkie.
Mark: Good girl.
Allison: I need help.
Diane: I know. I never should have flushed those pills down the toilet. I had no right. I’m so sorry. I was just so worried.
Allison: Can you help me, please, Mama?
Quinn: [after Daniel catches him in bed with Ryan] I need my clothes.
Daniel: They’re in my house. They’re my clothes now. Run away!
Daniel: Hey, Belinda! I found this fool in bed with my Ryan.
Quinn: She said she eighteen online!
Belinda: You’re a f***boy. He’s a f***boy! That’s what the kids call them! Get out of our neighborhood, f***boy!
Quinn: Okay! Okay!
Daniel: You’re grounded. You hear me? You’re grounded until… S**t, I can’t think of when you won’t be grounded.
Ryan: You can’t just lock me up, Daniel.
Daniel: For the last f***ing time, Ryan, you call me “Grandpa”.
Daniel: Allison, don’t go.
Allison: This was a mistake.
Daniel: No. No, it isn’t. Trust me. I know how hard it is to get here. It’s damn near impossible, and you did it. Don’t run away now because of me.
Allison: There are thousands of meetings. I’ll find another one.
Daniel: Well, yeah. But this one has the best snacks.
Allison: I want to go.
Daniel: No. No. No, you’ve made it this far, and I wouldn’t.
Allison: I don’t want to be here.
Daniel: Nobody does in the beginning.
Allison: I don’t want to be anywhere.
Daniel: Then you are definitely in the right spot.
Allison: Daniel, am I the reason why you’re back here?
Daniel: Yes! Yes, of course. What the hell do you want me to say? I’m sorry.
Allison: I’m going to find somewhere else. There are thousands of these meetings.
Daniel: Yeah, but somehow you found your way to this one. Now isn’t that something?
Diane: You’re a beautiful twenty-six year-old woman. You’re smart. You’re funny.
Allison: No, I’m not. No, I’m not.
Diane: Yes, you are.
Allison: No, I’m not. That’s the old me you’re describing.
Diane: You’re still you.
Allison: No, I’m not! I’m something else.
Diane: But it is what it is, okay? So, you got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, now.
Allison: Thanks, Mom. Yeah, I’m sorry I can’t get over this as fast as you want me to.
Nathan: [referring to Ryan] She says she thinks you need a friend.
Daniel: Hell, I don’t need a friend. I need a dog crate the size of a teenager.
Daniel: I never imagined I’d be doing this all by myself.
Nathan: You raised two kids.
Daniel: I had your mother. And you and your sister were much better behaved than Ry. What? Come on. Speak your mind, son.
Nathan: We were good because we were terrified of you. So, I’m not surprised you don’t have any tools in your arsenal since you lost the only one that you had. Fear.
Nathan: [referring to Allison] Of all the meetings, she ends up at yours?
Daniel: She saw me. She tried to run away, but I pulled her back.
Daniel: She’s suffering, Nathan. Broken. Lost.
Nathan: You’re the one who blamed her! I stood by her!
Daniel: Yeah, until she left your a**.
Daniel: [referring to Nathan] Turns out that in the blackness I had beat him so bad that he lost the hearing in his right ear. Forever. And to this day, every time I see him, I beg for his forgiveness. It’s just a little dance we do. A mere formality. Because we both know that there are some things that are just impossible to forgive. I do believe even God knows that.
Daniel: Funny, the things we stop caring about.
Allison: Nathan said that he was deaf since birth.
Daniel: He never told you?
Allison: Maybe he wanted me to like you.
Daniel: I doubt that.
Daniel: [referring to Ryan] I’m in way over my head. I got one of those audiobooks from the library. How to Talk to a Teen.
Allison: Oh, yeah? How’s that working out?
Daniel: Well, it’s from the ’80s. It’s on a cassette. Its advice is, “Chaperone a dance”. “Chaperone a dance”. I just caught her having sex with a boy who looked like a man. A dance would be delightful.
Allison: [to Daniel] You’re trying to solve a problem by looking in the other direction.
Allison: I don’t know how to do this.
Allison: Start all over. How do you do it?
Daniel: Takes work.
Allison: Can I tell you a secret?
Allison: I’m not sure I have the will.
Allison: [referring to the tattoo on his hand] What does “amor fati” mean?
Daniel: Certain things are private.
Daniel: I was a cop for forty years. I was an addict for fifty. So, I’m going to ask you again. Are you high right now?
Allison: Well, I broke a pill in half. So, half.
Daniel: Yes, I think you’re f***ed up, Allison. Not half. All f***ed up.
Allison: Do you think I’ll ever pull out of this? I mean, like maybe one day I might be the kind of person that people want their granddaughter to hang out with?
Daniel: I have no idea.
Allison: Me neither.
Daniel: Are you using any protection?
Ryan: Oh, my God! I am so not going to talk about this with my grandfather.
Daniel: How the hell do you think I feel?
Ryan: Don’t you think most people are so fake?
Daniel: I would probably say “duplicitous”.
Ryan: What does that mean?
Ryan: I just never want to talk to you about sex ever again.
Daniel: Oh, really? Because I just love this s**t.
Allison: [after her story of how her father left to start a new family] For so long, I thought that I’d done something wrong. Like it was my fault, or I’d let him down. And then I just realized, I don’t know, maybe some people just aren’t good.
Allison: [at her AA meeting] I was the driver of a car that was in a really bad accident. Two people died. The woman was about to be my sister-in-law. We were on our way to try on my wedding dresses. And then we weren’t.
Allison: [at her AA meeting] Surviving that day was, is the most painful thing I will ever have to live through. I got hurt too. They put a hole in my head. And that helped because at least I had something I could blame the pain on. But then that healed, and I was still hurting. And I guess that’s why I didn’t realize how bad it was, because to me, I was still in so much pain.
Allison: [at her AA meeting, referring to the pills] They made me numb. Blissfully numb. Without them I want to die. Every day. I’ve never said that out loud before. I’ve never really faced reality without them. And I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle what I see, but I’m here to try. Okay. That’s it. That’s it. What happens now?
Allison: [referring to the miniature train set] This is incredible. How long did it take you?
Daniel: [referring to building the miniature train set] Think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.
Allison: Why? Because you get to play God?
Daniel: Well, so much of my life has been out of control. Down here, I get to decide if Olivia chooses me.
Ryan: Weren’t you driving? Wasn’t she driving?
Daniel: We’re in the program together.
Ryan: But I thought you said it was her fault.
Ryan: How could you bring her into our house? Get out of our f***ing house!
Allison: Just in case this is the last time I ever get to talk to you, please know, I also wish it was me. Okay? I do. I’m going to go.
Ryan: I never got to say goodbye.
Allison: I know.
Ryan: [referring to Molly] She said you made Nate really happy. That you were the best thing that ever happened to him.
Allison: He made me happy too.
Ryan: I just don’t understand how if he was going to stay with you, even after everything that happened, why did you dump him?
Allison: I was upset. And so I ran.
Daniel: [referring to Ryan] I’m just asking if you will please just let her be.
Allison: Scout’s honor.
Daniel: No, that’s Spock’s “Live long and prosper”. We Boy Scouts do this.
Allison: Oh. I prefer Spock. Live long and prosper, Daniel.
Ryan: Why do you ride your bike everywhere?
Allison: I haven’t been in a car since the accident.
Ryan: Because you feel guilty?
Allison: No. Because I feel scared.
Ryan: Tell me why you ended it with Nate. My mom would want you guys to be together still.
Allison: Ryan, I don’t even know what to say to that.
Allison: [referring to Nathan, after Ryan tells her he has a girlfriend] We went through so much together. I really want good things to happen to him.
Daniel: You need a hug?
Allison: If I hug you, I’m going to sob. So, no.
Daniel: Well, I can handle that.
Allison: No, I shouldn’t. Not in front of Ryan.
Daniel: Okay. Well, I’m hugging you with my eyes.
Diane: Seems like no matter how old they get, you never stop worrying. Yeah. But they always seem to turn up.
Daniel: Not always.
Daniel: Well, we’re all just trying to move on, I suppose.
Diane: Yeah. I don’t think Allie and I are doing a very good job of that, Daniel.
Daniel: You know what they say.
Daniel: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Diane: Oh. I didn’t know they said that.
Daniel: Well, somebody did.
Nathan: [after Ryan arranges that he and Allison see each other at the club] I think we’re the victims of a teenage girl’s good intentions.
Ryan: [to Nathan’s girlfriend] I know being a paralegal is a good job, but he’s supposed to be with Allie. I’m sorry.
Nathan: Ryan, what the f*** did you just do?
Ryan: I’m fixing it. For Mom.
Nathan: [referring to Daniel shooting Quinn] He’s not worth it.
Daniel: I got nothing left to lose.
Nathan: You got me! You got Ryan! We need you! You do this, it’s over! We get no more time.
Daniel: [referring to Ryan] I told you to stay away from her! Who the f*** are you to be talking about protecting somebody? You’re a mess.
Allison: I was trying to help. I was trying to make it right.
Daniel: Let me tell you something. You will never ever be able to fix the things you’ve done to me. You hear me? I want my life back. I want my child back. My baby, my Molly. You took my baby away from me!
Daniel: [to Allison] I wanted to hate you. But I stopped myself. And when you walked into that meeting, I thought, this is God testing me. This is proof of a higher power testing me in this church. Trying to see if he could break me. But I’ll show him. I’m unbreakable. I will offer my hand to this sorry little f***ing pill junkie. All I asked you to do was stay away from this child. Now look at her. She got no mother. No father. And how many years can I have left? What a f***ing waste you are. What a f***ing waste of a soul. Of a chance.
Daniel: [to Allison] This isn’t how it was supposed to be. I’m a good person. I never said God has to be fair. I just never thought he could be this cruel.
Daniel: You didn’t have time to stop because you were looking at your f***ing phone, Allison. Stop blaming Alvarez. They’re dead because of you.
Allison: [as Nathan visits her in rehab] Nate, I didn’t have the faintest idea how to handle my own grief. I didn’t even know if I was allowed to grieve.
Nathan: We were all flailing.
Allison: Yeah, but I abandoned you. And that was so selfish. I ran as fast as I could away from you.
Nathan: It wasn’t your fault.
Allison: It was. Your dad was right. If I hadn’t been looking at my phone, I could have stopped in time. You deserve an apology that never came, and I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry.
Allison: I need you to be clear on one thing. I loved you so much. And along with everything else, I will forever grieve for the life that we might have had.
Nathan: Me too. We were a good team. It would be nice if we could one day find some way to be in each other’s lives. Maybe that’s unrealistic, but…
Allison: [to the audience] I recently recorded my first EP, and it’s at the coat check, because I’m also the coat check girl. So come buy a CD, or I won’t give you your coats back.
Daniel: [as Allison reads the letter he left her at his funeral] Dear Allison. Down here in 1:87 scale, the lovers always kiss, the neighbors are always kind, and the trains always take you to the far-off places you always swore you’d go. In life, of course, nothing is nearly as neat and tidy. Everything I own has been left to Nathan and Ryan. Nathan has agreed to move home and be her guardian until she’s off to college. He’ll need help. Please help him, Allie. Molly always said Nathan was the best version of himself when he was with you. Who knows, maybe you can even get her into Stanford.
Daniel: [as Allison continues reading his letter] When we first met in that diner, you asked what my tattoo meant. Amor fati is Latin. It means “to love one’s fate”. Neither of us chose this fate, Allie. But perhaps we can find a way to love it. Fate has given me one final year with my son. He looks at me differently these days. Once in a while I even catch him smiling at me with a look that might just even be love. Amor fati, Allison. Until we meet again, Daniel.