Zach Braff first emerged as a writer/director with 2004's Garden State, a film with passionate fans and detractors (I liked it well enough). Since then, he's done the occasional feature film interspersed with TV work (he directed an episode of Ted Lasso season 1). But he's back directing for the big screen with the affecting drama A Good Person.
Florence Pugh plays Allison, a young woman about to get married to Nathan (Chinaza Uche). Allison goes on an excursion with Nathan's sister and her husband. She looks at a map app while driving and fails to see another vehicle abruptly pull out in front of her. Allison ends up being the only survivor in her car.
Flash forward to a year later and Allison is no longer engaged to Nathan and addicted to oxycontin. After humiliating herself multiple times while pursuing her addiction (including a very effective scene in a bar where she runs into two seedy former high school classmates of hers), she goes to a narcotics anonymous meeting. At the same meeting is Daniel (Morgan Freeman), Nathan's semi-estranged father and a recovering alcoholic.
The script puts Pugh through an emotional wringer as Allison, but she proves herself up to the task. It's a role that requires her to behave sometimes in a selfish, unlikable manner but the audience has to still remain invested in her and hope she can eventually turn things around. The movie's success hinges on Pugh's work, and she comes through, as does Freeman.
For the past decade or so, Freeman has been working, and it hasn't been bad
work, but it hasn't been work that really showcased all he could do as an actor.
Freeman's great skill as an actor is that he is able to convey considerable depths of
emotion while remaining very still. That talent is on display in A Good Person and
I'm glad we got to see the 85-year-old Oscar winner flex his acting muscles again in
a role worthy of his talents.