Watch As Good as It Gets
- 2 hr 19 min
As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by James L. Brooks and starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, and Greg Kinnear. The film follows the story of Melvin Udall (Nicholson), a misanthropic and obsessive-compulsive writer who finds his life unexpectedly turned upside down when he becomes involved with his neighbor, a single mother and waitress named Carol Connelly (Hunt), and her gay artist friend, Simon Bishop (Kinnear). Melvin Udall is a successful but deeply troubled writer living in New York City. He is a noted germaphobic who is unable to eat anything that has been touched by another person, fixates on cleanliness, and constantly insults and belittles people in his life. His life is disrupted when Simon, his gay artist neighbor, is attacked and left for dead by a group of robbers. As Simon is hospitalized, Melvin agrees to look after Simon's dog, Verdell, and to pay for Simon's medical bills. Initially resistant to the task, Melvin develops a bond with the dog and begins to look forward to his daily walks with Verdell. Meanwhile, Carol, the waitress at the restaurant Melvin frequents, is struggling to raise her sickly son and dealing with the advances of her sleazy boss. One day, after receiving a substantial tip from Melvin, Carol's son is hospitalized, and she is forced to take time off work to care for him. Melvin offers to pay her for her lost wages if she agrees to convey his germs to her sick son so that he doesn't have to care for the dog while she's away. Initially reluctant, Carol agrees, and Melvin begins to develop feelings for her. As these three characters begin to interact with one another, they all start to change in profound ways. Melvin begins to confront the toxic nature of his personality, and his deep-seated prejudices against gay people and other minorities. Carol begins to stand up for herself in her personal life and assert herself professionally. And Simon, despite being confined to a hospital bed, finds a way to begin painting again. As Good as It Gets is a touching and nuanced look at the lives of three very different people, each struggling with their own demons and trying to find a way out. The film is anchored by stunning performances from its three leads - Jack Nicholson is typically brilliant as the unlikeable but ultimately sympathetic Melvin Udall, Helen Hunt is a revelation as Carol, conveying both strength and vulnerability in equal measure, and Greg Kinnear shines as the sensitive and compassionate Simon Bishop. The film is also notable for its frank and thoughtful portrayal of mental illness and the ways in which it can affect people's lives. Melvin's obsessive-compulsive disorder is never played for laughs, and the film does not shy away from the difficulty and pain that comes with living with such a condition. At the same time, the film is also incredibly funny and charming, with a light touch that never feels forced or artificial. In many ways, As Good as It Gets is a film about empathy - the ability to see beyond one's own narrow perspective and connect with other people on a deeper level. Each of the characters in the film is forced to confront their own limitations and biases, and to learn to reach out to others in order to live fulfilling lives. By the end of the film, each of them has undergone a profound transformation, and the audience is left with a sense of hope and possibility. In conclusion, As Good as It Gets is a masterful film from start to finish, blending humor, pathos, and deep humanity into an unforgettable story about the power of connection and the ways in which people can grow and change. The performances from the film's three leads are simply extraordinary, and director James L. Brooks handles the complex themes and tonal shifts with remarkable finesse. If you haven't seen this film yet, put it on your must-watch list - it's as good as it gets.