After a limited theatrical release, Good Grief is set for its Netflix premiere this week.
If you're familiar with the Rose family of Schitt's Creek, you might recognise Dan Levy as David, the humorously spoilt eldest son. In his latest film, Good Grief, Levy shows his darker side. Once again, the man behind Schitt's Creek is juggling multiple roles: Good Grief is a new film that Levy stars in, directs, produces, and depicts a widower's journey of self-discovery in the City of Love after his loss.
Levy is more than what viewers of the popular comedy series may realise. He informed Netflix that lots of people see him as a comedian, but he is not. His emotional side has always been more prominent than most people give it credit for. Therefore, he has got to make peace with this public image—the one that everyone seems to associate with him, the one that David Rose presents.
Personal inspiration for Good Grief
Following his grandmother's death, Levy was the inspiration for the film. He explained that his thoughts turned to the questions of meaning and proper mourning methods. He declared that he had no choice but to do this. It felt very personal, and he needed to break the seal on a screenplay.
Oliver, played by Luke Evans, was so larger than life in Good Grief that Marc, played by Dan Levy, happily played the role of a bystander. After Oliver's untimely death shakes Marc's world, he and his best friends Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel) embark on a journey of self-discovery to Paris, where they confront the harsh realities that had been evading them.
Cautionary tale on friendship, grief and truth
Levy described Good Grief as a cautionary tale that teaches its audience about the complexities of friendship, grief, and the consequences of facing the truth after living a lie for so long. It's a project that has helped him cope with his own loss; it's humorous and melancholy. Also, the filmmaker-actor is crossing his fingers that it has that effect on other individuals.
Oscar contender Ruth Negga plays Sophie, and Himesh Patel plays Thomas, alongside Levy in Good Grief. According to Negga, the film tells the story of three friends in their mid-30s who are at a crossroads in their lives, determining what to hold on to, what to let go of, and how to proceed now that they are grownups. A lot of nuance goes into this narrative. The question of loyalty and friendship, as well as the boundaries they set within friendships and the ways in which they shape our other relationships, is actually rather weighty.
Patel explained to Netflix that upon first reading the script, what excited him about it was its originality. Although it was reminiscent of films by Nora Ephron and Richard Curtis, the picture was fresh, contemporary, and unique in its focus on loss. He finds it incredibly touching and sincere that Dan crafted and delivered such a magnificent tale with such wisdom and openness.
Main cast and character dynamics
The main cast, including Luke Evans (Marc's late spouse, Oliver), spent time getting to know each other before production began. Levy revealed that they were shooting in London, so he rented Soho Farmhouse and moved the cast and crew to the countryside at the beginning to foster chemistry that wasn't necessary, and that was already present. There was so much love and warmth during their two weeks of rehearsal, and they had the most wonderful experience. Because one can sense the chemistry between them and feel the love they have for one another, editing was a breeze.
Jamael Westman, David Bradley, Celia Imrie, and Arnaud Valois are among the other stars of Good Grief. On January 5, 2024, the film will be available on Netflix.
Film's focus on life and reflection
Levy further explained that the film begins with a death but doesn't end with one because there's so much joy in it; it's about life rather than death. It causes people to reflect on their past and the choices that led them to their current situation. In addition, it serves as a platform from which they can deliver a heartwarming tale that centres on the importance of friendship. The film's romance is centred around that.