“As Good As You” Examines the Casualties of Grief

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Imagine closing your eyes and spinning as fast as you can around and around, then trying to leave the room you were standing in. Inevitably, you’ll crash into everything around you as you stumble completely off balance towards the door. That’s what “As Good As You” is about: crashing into everything as you try (and largely fail) to move forward in the wake of tragedy.

Jo’s wife Amanda died months ago, but she can’t cope with the loss. Instead, she begs Amanda’s brother Jamie to act as a sperm donor in a futile attempt to hold onto her wife’s memory, then wrecks her relationship with her closest friends as she engages in a cascading sequence of bad life choices.

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The good: the acting in this movie is great. Laura Heisler as Jo is entirely credible as a woman trying and failing to hold everything together. Her eyes are perpetually red and brimming with tears shed and unshed. Anna Fitzwater as punk lesbian Lisa is captivating and I’d absolutely watch a movie just about Lisa. Raoul Bhaneja, who plays Nate, and Bryan Dechart, who plays Jamie, also do a great job. The cinematography and direction are nice, too.

However, contrary to this movie’s billing as “a serious comedy about grief,”  it is not a comedy. There is nothing funny about the movie; no jokes or moments that spur a guffaw or a smile: it is an honest window into a grief-fueled trainwreck.

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This movie is not for everyone. If you like movies about emotional trainwrecks and their consequences, then you’ll enjoy the realism and sincerity of this movie. If, however, you prefer a movie with an uplifting message, a good love story, or laugh out loud funny jokes, then you may want to steer clear of this movie, because it has none of those things. “As Good as You” is directed by Heather De Michele and is a production of First Run Features. The movie won best LGBT film at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, and will be screening at the Laemmle Music Hall during LA Pride Week. Watch the official trailer below.

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