Good Sam is a perfectly relaxed example of a mellow feel-good story that is sure to resonate with plenty of viewers looking for an optimistic watch.
Netflix’s new addition to it’s feel-good repertoire comes in the form of light-hearted movie Good Sam. Good Sam is a buoyantly pleasant movie that casually entertains and delivers an encouraging message without too much emotional investment.
Good Sam tells the story of young reporter Kate Bradley, an enthusiastic and daring journalist willing to throw caution to the wind in search of the perfect story. Given that Kate usually covers the grim and dangerous, it is no surprise when she is less than happy about being assigned a puff piece. Kate has been given the humdrum task of tracking down the mysterious identity of the man who has left a bag filled with $100,000 outside of a stranger’s house. Filled with pessimism Kate grits her teeth and holds her tongue as she ventures off to cover this story, which she believes is entirely beneath her. This being said, as more and more people come forward with their own stories of receiving the same sum of money, things begin to look a little more interesting.
Played by The Good Place‘s Tiya Sircar comes the no-nonsense character Kate, a woman on a mission to break her next big story. Sircar’s character knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it, and her performance was pleasant enough for this kind of film but hardly made an impression. Giving credit where it is due Sircar seemed to have done well with the script given to her but overall Good Sam is certainly not a movie of groundbreaking means and doesn’t try to be. The majority of the cast seem to have backgrounds in straight-to-TV daytime movies and Good Sam doesn’t exactly stray from that kind of style. With cheesy acting and overcompensating dramatics, Good Sam feels like it belongs in a corner of Netflix saved for passive viewing and sleepy days.
This is not to say that Good Sam is a bad movie, it certainly has it’s perks, with a sentimental narrative and chirpy vibe that contributes to its appeal. The movie is charming in places but with little oomph or pizazz, it falls short of being particularly memorable. Given the premise of the story, it’s safe to say there is certainly an audience for this kind of ‘good Samaritan’ plot, those who seek a gentle movie without the desire to be too engaged will feel most at home. Good Sam is the kind of movie you may put on after a long day as a pleasant distraction with a story that will remind you that good can exist in the world and people don’t always have a motive.
On the other hand, Good Sam is unsurprisingly and far too often dull, the script is uninspired and the characters are two dimensional. Unfortunately, Good Sam falls short of being captivating; it is safe and it is colorless, with flat dialogue and well-worn cliches. Sircar should be recognized for her performance as she is the saving grace of the movie even when the script had her climbing an uphill battle to be compelling. It is a shame as the concept of the movie and the determination of Sircar’s character was lost in a world of bland influence. Good Sam could have been great inspiration for a more fascinating look into the world of greed, humanitarianism, and generosity. Good Sam could have been a more daring exploration of what it is to work in groundbreaking journalism or a more engaging investigation into whether it is possible for someone to be that generous without expecting a reward.
Overall Good Sam was a perfectly relaxed example of a mellow feel-good story that is sure to resonate with plenty of viewers looking for an optimistic watch. It isn’t particularly exciting but it does invite you to reconsider what it is to be kind without motive. Good Sam will, unfortunately, leave you behind as you move onto your next task, but if it helps you feel good or distracts you from everyday woes then go ahead. After all, there is no harm in watching a film that doesn’t invite us to check our own feelings every once in a while.