As Good as It Gets
Release Year: 1997
Director: James L. Brooks
Writers: James L Brooks (screenplay), Mark Andrus (screenplay & story)
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Skeet Ulrich, Shirley Knight, Yeardley Smith, Lupe Ontiveros, Bibi Osterwald
Rating: Won 2 Oscar: Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Helen Hunt). Nominated for 5 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Greg Kinnear), Bet Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Score. Won 3 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Actor – Comedy or Musical (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress – Comedy or Musical (Helen Hunt). Nominated for 3 Golden Globes: Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Greg Kinnear), Best Screenplay.
The lives of a misanthropic author suffering from ocd, a waitress and single mother, and an artist who is battered during a robbery are tangled together and the lives of each of them is changed as a result.
This wonderful 1990s Oscar winner is a romantic comedy drama that really grows on you. The first time I watched As Good as It Gets I didn’t find it particularly interesting, even a bit boring, but upon revisit, the film really shows its charms. First of all, it has an unusual story. The ending may be obvious, but the characters and the set-up is not one you see everyday. Secondly, it is packed with great acting. Hunt (Twister, 1996)is wonderful as the hard-working sinngle mom who finds herself the unwilling subject of Nicholson’s attention, Kinnear is very likable as Nicholson’s mild-mannered and unfortunate artist neighbour who finds himself the unwilling adresee of his verbal abuses. But the real star here is Nicholson (About Schmidt, 2002) who gives one in a long line of great performance with what is arguably one of his most lovable characters. Yes, Udall is misanthropic and rude, but you always get the feeling that he can’t “help” himself. His mind is obviously not functioning like that a normal person, making his attempts to reform in response to his feelings for Hunt’s waitress all the more endearing. A wonderful film about three wonderful characters that is both touching and funny. Highly recommended.
The response by Udall when he is asked about how he writes female characters is actually a response once made by American author John Updike when asked the same question.