As ardent fans of Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman, even if “A Good Person” were flawed from the start, we would’ve given it a watch and liked it anyway. There’s something about a good actor that makes a not-so-decent plot bearable to watch. Not to say “A Good Person” has a terrible script; it’s just not excellent, and that’s fine. The film takes on grief and combines it with addiction to depict a confused character who has many layers but can’t seem to get past them because of said addiction. But there is something lackluster about the whole thing, as there’s never a high; we’re directly met with the lows, so how do we identify the context of this addiction? Keeping that in mind, though, unlike a lot of current-day media, this movie is honest about the matter and never glamorizes it.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘A Good Person’?
Allison is a young, enterprising woman with a large than life personality that shines in a room full of people. Her fiancé, Nathan, is estranged from his war veteran father, but his sister is very excited to get him married to Allison. Molly, Nathan’s sister, and her husband join Allison one day to try on wedding gowns. Molly is keen on seeing a play, so while they’re out on a drive, Allie chooses to check her phone to see if she can get them to a play. As you can imagine, there was an accident, and both Molly and her husband were declared dead on the spot, whereas Allison survived with a head injury. Struck with the shock of it all, Allison, who in theory should be apologizing to and supporting her fiancé, is unable to do so, and as we skip to a year after the accident, we find that she has left him. In the meantime, she also becomes addicted to the painkiller Oxycontin, which she doesn’t require anymore. From a perfect woman to what she would call herself -“completely off the hook.” Is it the grief of surviving the tragedy or the effects it had on her life that she is most upset about? Allison is clearly in pain, but it is not physical pain; it is that she wishes she would’ve been the one to have died instead of her future in-laws.
Allison tries to get pills with the help of her friend because her doctors aren’t giving them to her anymore. Her friend is immediately disturbed by her request and tells her she has no room for such a friendship anymore. Allison then heads to a bar, where she meets a couple of old classmates from school. They are terrifying because they have the upper hand in the current situation. She has no money; she wants drugs, and these two guys, who she didn’t care about in high school, are the only ones who can help her. Taking advantage of her unfortunate situation, the guys belittle her and force her to call herself a junkie. After a lot of coaxing from her mother and some crazy business, Allison decides to go to an NA meeting. At the meeting, she finds herself face-to-face with the father of her fiancé and, therefore, the man whom she robbed of his child. Allison decides to leave immediately, but it is Daniel, Nathan’s father, who stops her from leaving and convinces her to stay. Daniel doesn’t judge Allison for coming there; in fact, he supports her and takes her into the meeting with a joke on his lips and a smile on his face. It is then that Allison begins to take life slightly more seriously.
On the other hand, Daniel is dealing with his granddaughter Ryan, who lost both her parents to the accident caused by Allie. Ryan is a rebellious teenager who also happens to be terribly sad. She is a soccer player and hopes to go to Stanford, but because of circumstances, she isn’t getting along with anyone at her new school. After being bullied by a fellow player, she decides to quit soccer, and Daniel is pretty upset about this. He wants her to have the same life she would’ve had if her parents were around. Daniel hasn’t had the best history while raising kids, though. As we find out later, Daniel used to beat up his children when drunk. He had vowed as a young man never to do so because his alcoholic father had the same habit. Daniel found the bottle every day until one time; he hit Nathan so hard that he lost his hearing in one ear. Ryan starts seeing a 20-year-old boy, and she’s only 16. Daniel catches them fooling around in her room and confiscates her phone, grounding her. He can’t believe what things have come to.
After a meeting, he meets up with Allison, and she reminds him that she was not drugged or drunk when the accident happened. She felt obliged to tell him this piece of information, considering how they met at the NA meeting. Through conversation, Daniel tells Allie that he is unable to take care of his teenage granddaughter and brings up the home incident. Allie suggests she could have a word with Ryan but immediately takes it back. She is determined to right her wrongs without realizing it. Allie knows in her heart that she is the cause of Daniel’s daughter’s death, but her first words are always “It wasn’t my fault.” After some time together in the meetings, Daniel gets friendly with Allie and invites her home. She finally starts to take things seriously and stops taking her pills for a bit. Her mother had thrown away her pills in a rage but later brought some back for her. After seeing Daniel, she had wanted to take them all at once, but seeing Nathan’s face in her head had stopped her from doing the worst thing she could’ve done.
Now, in Daniel’s home, she sees a mini world he has built over years of tiny figures and a painstakingly put-together land of his dreams. She learns that Daniel didn’t have the best relationship with his father and that his drinking habits started with him. Before she leaves, Ryan arrives, and Daniel is gobsmacked. Ryan is immediately raging at Allie, who wants to leave but stands at the door, listening. She is subconsciously Ryan’s punching bag, and as she steps out of the house, she tells Ryan that she wishes every day that it was her that died too. Ryan stops Allie from leaving by telling her that she is the one for her Uncle Nathan. Her mother used to say that Nathan never looked happier than when he was with Allison. Finally, Daniel invites Allison to stay for dinner, and Ryan starts to take an interest in Allison despite her grandfather having blamed Allison for the deaths of her parents.
Ryan likes Allie because she’s closer to her age and a woman who can be understanding of her tantrums. Allison is someone fun to talk to for Ryan, who has no friends. Before leaving, Allie leaves her number for Ryan in case she ever wants to talk, but Daniel tells her that Ryan is extremely fragile and she should stay away from her. Ryan asks Allison to hang out with her, but Allison tells her what Daniel told her. She tells Ryan that if she goes back to soccer and tells Daniel that it was Allison who convinced her to go back, they might get a chance to hang out. Ryan agrees, and Daniel offers them a coffee meet-up. Innocent and naive as she is, Ryan tells Allison all about Nathan’s new life with his new girlfriend. She doesn’t realize that this might hurt Allison’s feelings; she just thinks she might want to know what he’s been up to. Allison begins to hyperventilate and cries in the bathroom, looking at his new photos. She’s hurt, and she wants to leave immediately. Daniel somehow understands Allison’s pain and offers her a hug, but Allison refuses in front of Ryan. She heads back home and relapses, unable to bear the pain anymore.
Does Daniel Forgive Allison In The End? What Happens To Her Addiction?
Ryan decides to invite Allison to the city for a concert. The guy she was found with by Daniel is meeting her there. Allison, who is extremely high at the time, refuses to join her because Daniel wouldn’t like it. Finally, though, because she’s worried about Ryan’s safety and needs to get out of the house where her mother rambles on about how they should start a small business together, Ryan is delighted to see Allison, and at the concert, she leaves her for a bit, saying she needs to bring somebody in. That somebody happens to be Nathan, and to even Ryan’s surprise, his new girlfriend is there too. Allison is desperate to leave, and Ryan yells at Nathan, saying he was supposed to come alone and she’s doing this for her mom. Nathan and Allison need to be together so Molly’s wishes can come true. Allison leaves, and Nathan tells Ryan to go find her and take her home safely. Instead, Allison begins to pound on Ryan, saying she did that on purpose and that she wants to hurt her. Ryan denies Allison’s accusations and says she only meant well. Finally, Ryan’s pal arrives with the band guitarists and asks if they want to head to a house party. Allison gives in because she’s hyperventilating and needs to get out of the room. At the party, Ryan leaves Allison alone, and she procures more drugs for herself. Daniel and Allison’s mother also begin to panic back at home. Daniel enlists the help of Simone, who is Allison’s sponsor at NA, to go find them. Through the Find My Phone app, they’re able to get their location.
Allison realizes that Ryan is locked up in a room with the 20-year-old and starts to knock at the door. She can’t hear Ryan and continues to knock when Daniel shows up. Daniel is furious, and breaks open the door. Ryan is passed out, and Daniel points a gun at the guy. Allison and Simone try to stop Daniel from doing something stupid, but they’re unable to get through to him. Daniel seems more agitated than his usual calm self. Finally, it is Nathan who is able to convince him to put the gun away. Nathan tells Daniel that he has him and Ryan to lose if he commits this crime. Outside, Daniel spits out to Allison everything he has on his mind. He reminds her that it was actually her fault that the passengers died. Daniel believes he is “a good person,” and so he endured meeting Allison at the NA meeting as a test from God, but now he can’t hide his distaste anymore.
Allison realizes that he has had alcohol after ten years of sobriety. This is the last straw for Allison. She had been holding on to a Rolex watch her father had left behind before packing everything else and leaving her and her mother to start a new family. She finally sells the watch and uses the money to check herself into rehab. She returns to her jovial self and becomes the old Allison from before the accident. She finally has the courage to meet Nathan after being sober for months. She tells him that it was, in fact, her fault that his sister is dead and finally apologizes for it. One year after rehab, she has chosen to focus on her passion rather than returning to her boring job at the pharmacy to pursue her passion and has even made an EP. She gets a call from Nathan; they might still be a part of each other’s lives as they had wanted to be.
Daniel has finally passed and left everything behind to Ryan and Nathan. Allison acts as a host at the funeral, giving us hope that Daniel will let Allison back into his life after she gets out of rehab. When she heads to the room downstairs with his mini world, she finds a letter addressed to her. In the letter, Daniel requests that Allison help Nathan with Ryan, proving that he has finally forgiven her. Right at the start, Allie had asked him the meaning of his tattoo, “Amor Fati,” and he had told her it was private. In the letter now, he explains that it means to “love your fate.” Allison and Daniel never chose this fate for themselves, but Allison can learn to appreciate it and become the version of herself that she likes. Nathan has broken up with his girlfriend, and Allison and Ryan are as tight as ever. Maybe hope is what we’re left with at the end of “A Good Person.”