Friday, August 20, 2010

Film on Friday: As Good as It Gets

Michelle Styles investiagtes a feel good movie with a character you should  despise but don't.
There are times when only a feel good movie will do and As Good As It Gets is a great movie. First released in 1997, it won 2 Oscars -- Best Actor for Jack Nicolson and Best Actress for Helen Hunt. My husband gave this dvd a few Christmases ago. I think Jack Nicholson as Obsessive Compulsive  romance novelist appealed to his sense of humour.  It is ultimately a feel good love story about how someone who is angry at the human race learns to love and give of himself.
Melvin Udall by any measure is dysfunctional. The film never really explores why he is dysfunctional and why he has become immersed in such compulsive obsessive behaviour. I suspect being a novelist, he can feel so much emotion that in order to cope with his emotions, he has cut himself off from emotion. He takes pride in being combative and making the smart remark. He thinks only of himself rather than how he might wound others. Many of his statements are outrageous but you can also understand the pain then as he doesn't want to be the way he is. Particularly when he tells the dog -- Don't you ever be like me.
He wants his life just how he wants his life to the point of tracking down his favourite waitress played by Helen Hunt when she doesn't show up for work.
When his homosexual neighbour, Simon is hospitalised after an attack, Melvin is forced to look after Simon's dog. This is a dog that Melvin professes to hate but who soon becomes vital to Melvin's existence and becomes his gateway to engaging with humanity.
His relationship with Carol remains complicated and at the end they go off to the corner bakery in the middle of the night but you know they will be okay.
One of my favourite lines from the film is : I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with Spencer, "Spence," and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me.
Another is when Carol asks him to give her a compliment and he says: You make me want to be a better man.

So if you need something to cheer you up and reaffirm your faith in human nature, I would humbly suggest re -watching As Good as It Gets as it is sure to brighten your mood. Watch the trailer and see.

Michelle Styles writes historical romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her latest release is An Impulsive Debutante. She has never made flipant comments when people ask her where she gets her ideas...but soemtimes the temptation has been there.


  1. Ah Michelle, this is a film that has grown on me. When I first saw it I found Nicholson's performance showy and annoying (a rather blatant Oscar bid from a guy I had always admired for being a little bit anti-establishment). That said I loved Helen Hunt in it... So when I watched it again (to see her) it occurred to me that Jack is supposed to be showy and annoying in this film!! And it is very funny... Also I like the glass-half-full premise... That if this is as good as it gets why not make the most of it!!

    Good pick Michelle, definitely a film that deserves a second viewing.

  2. Good choice - I enjoyed this one very much.

  3. I'm pleased you both approve.
    And Heidi yes I think Helen Hunt was brilliant in this film.
    It is the whole combo that works...

  4. I watched this one on DVD with my husband. It is a great movie. It says a lot about the human condition. I think we need to watch it again. Thanks for reminding me about it.

  5. You are very welcome Pat. I hope you enjoy it. It does say a lot about the human condition.

  6. Totally agree. Fabulous film. Must watch it again. V. soon.