As Good As It Gets
Girl: How do you write women so well?
Melvin: I think of a man then take away reason and accountability
This is just one of many classic lines from AS GOOD AS IT GETS, which I plan on sprinkling throughout my review.
Melvin (Jack Nicholson) is a writer and obsessive-compulsive. He hates everyone in the world and is completely self-absorbed. He has no filter when telling people what he thinks. One person who seems to be strong enough to handle him is Carol (Helen Hunt). She is a kind and caring single mom who lives with her mother. Her boy is sick and needs a ton of medical treatment that Carol has trouble paying for with her job as a waitress. Simon (Greg Kinnear) is Melvin’s neighbor who is a sweet but timid gay artist that is beaten and robbed. While he heals Melvin is reluctantly forced to care for Simon’s dog. His hatred for this dog turns into affection, which we see glimpses of coming out towards people. These three very different individuals form a… well, as good as it will likely get friendship.
Melvin: You make me wanna be a better man.
The film is definitely an actor’s showcase. With a slew of Oscar nominations in 1998 for best picture, screenplay, editing, score, actor, actress and supporting actor, it took home trophies for the two leads. This was a huge catalyst for Helen Hunt as she was soon after over exposed in following years. She is great and definitely holds her own against Nicholson, which is no easy feat. This also propelled Greg Kinnear into more of a household name and has since done many great projects. Jack Nicholson as always is the real star here. The writing is an actors dreams and Nicholson couldn’t be more perfectly cast here. He is able to give you a compliment while he slaps you in the face with an insult, and still be funny and charming. I don’t believe there are too many people who could pull off this character with as much charisma, smugness and vulnerability as Mr. Nicholson.
Carol: Come on in and try not to ruin everything by being you.
Although I love all the interaction and agree that the situation presented would be the only possible way the two leads could get together, I feel like the direction tried to sell that it could actually be more than a friendship. The two of them will never get married. Nicholson is far to old for me to buy into an attraction from Helen Hunt. I can understand she is lonely and poor and this is the first man to help in any sort of way but ultimately she will not choose to be with his hating crazy ways and he won’t want to be around her sick kid who takes any attention away from him. I think the movie walks that crack in the ground nicely but chooses the more positive outlook cutting the movie before we really see the end results. If we were to follow the couple the next day they would be fighting again but I guess that is what the title is trying to say. It won’t be getting any better than that. The characters in the movie definitely grow and benefit from knowing each other but it will not be anything more than a unique friendship. Melvin is surely destined to be unhappy but there is hope for him to at least have happy moments. AS GOOD AS IT GETS is bitingly hilarious and touching.