Sundance Review: The Good Life
by Alex Billington
January 23, 2007
With one of the best opening scenes out of any film at Sundance, The Good Life sets an intense mood right at the beginning to lead you through this dramatic story of young Jason's life and troubles. The film is set in a football-fueled town but without a moment of football and made for people who hate football. It surrounds a brief amount of time where Jason (Mark Webber) struggles to fit in and deals with his own family, relationship, and physical issues. This film is my current top pick from Sundance - a remarkable creation.
Jason is very outstandingly defined and perfectly portrayed (by Webber) - he never strikes even a faint smile the entire film, except for one brief moment. In the story in The Good Life these two mentally flawed individuals eventually come together - Jason and Frances (Zooey Deschanel). In addition, one of the most heartfelt performances that even made me cry was from the unforgettable Harry Dean Stanton as Gus, the owner of a cinema that plays only classics because he believes they deserve to be remembered. Even this subtle appreciation for cinematic history, including clips from some true classics, adds another little nuisance that helps build up The Good Life into the phenomenal film that it is.
The Good Life is on the level of Donnie Darko, a profound, immense, and phenomenal small town story and amazing movie, and I say that from the bottom of my heart - it's just that damn good. It may change your life, it may not, but it will at least be an unforgettable experience.