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The Art Of Moving On Is Explored In Daniel Levy’s ‘Good Grief’

The Canadian director, producer, writer, and star hits all five stages of grief in this tender Netflix portrayal…

“We all deserve some joy.”

After the Emmy-winning success of Schitt’s Creek put Daniel Levy on the global map, the writer and actor seemed to take some time to hone his craft further. Taking on comedy is one obstacle in the entertainment industry that many have tried, and few have succeeded to the degree that Levy has in recent years. He has since costarred in holiday-themed projects (Happiest Season) and expanded his brand as the host, executive producer, and creator of the cooking competition series, The Big Brunch. Now, the Canadian icon takes audiences into the belly of the dramatic with his new Netflix film, Good Grief.

Reflecting his multihyphenate personality as the director, producer, writer, and star of Good Grief, Daniel Levy throws himself into the character of Marc Dreyfus, a children’s book illustrator married to the dashing Oliver (Luke Evans). Just after Oliver leads a Christmas party full of the happy couple’s friends in a rendition of “When My Baby Comes Home,” he leaves the party and immediately gets into a car accident. Oliver is killed instantly. 

A year goes by, and Marc has tried everything to pick up the broken pieces of his life. His attempts at yoga, working out, living with his best friend Thomas (Himesh Patel), and watching Bravo haven’t changed his outlook. He even tries his hand at dating apps with the help of his other bestie, Sophie (Ruth Negga)—disaster upon disaster. Nothing seems to dull the pain of losing the love of his life.

That is until Marc uncovers the truth about Oliver’s intentions before his untimely death: He was planning to leave Marc for someone else. This shocking news upends Marc’s mourning and sparks an idea that morphs his thinking. He takes his two pals on a weekend getaway to Paris to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Oliver’s passing. In doing so, he assumes the necessary steps to mend his and their broken lives.

“Good Grief” is a self-described love letter to grief and the influence of friendship, specifically in times when friends are needed most. Levy’s choice to step into the director’s chair makes for a sympathetic look at loss and the people left behind. The film explores the titular grief in various ways, culminating in a positive message about the power of connectedness and moving on. It’s a sobering take on the grieving process through one man’s journey, but regardless of sexual orientation, this film speaks to the masses about said grief.

Due to high-profile casting choices, it is apparent from the start that Luke Evans will mostly appear in brief flashback form. Oliver is a well-respected author of Young Adult literature that has led to film adaptations, so his death reverberates to the general public beyond his tight-knit circle of Marc and friends. Evans embraces his sexual identity and continues to portray complicated and charismatic gay characters after 2023’s triumphant Our Son

Yet, the central story of Good Grief targets the three amigos in Paris as they embark on an adventure staying at Oliver’s second home. All three face a crossroads in their lives after losing jobs and love, and they all deserve a holiday. Set against the backdrop of the City of Light, the film revolves around Marc’s struggles to come to terms with losing the man of his dreams while simultaneously conflicted about their past relationship. Over the course of one weekend, the trio learns a lot about themselves and what they once believed to be true.

But this is Paris, after all, and romance is undoubtedly in the air. A new courtship comes in the form of Theo (Arnaud Valois), a handsome and understanding Parisian art enthusiast whom Marc meets and reveals all of his inner turmoil. Amongst the broken hearts is a sea of romance just waiting to be revealed, playing to Daniel Levy’s strength as a writer and leading man.

Good Grief might be the antithesis of Levy’s much-beloved comedy stylings on Schitt’s Creek, but the former embodies the latter’s unique sentimentality and dramatic flair. This film is a soulful drama with twinkles of light, even in the darkest scenes. A well-written script goes a long way, but this movie works mainly due to the credit of Patel and Negga’s playful, yet often messy, antics on the screen. Marc would be nothing without the support of his friends, and it’s evident from the get-go that the three of them are in this together.

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