As Good As It Gets (1997) Film Review


Melvin (Jack Nicholson) is an offensive, racist, misogynistic, misanthrope who also happens to have OCD. When his neighbour, Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear) a gay artist, is beaten in his house, Melvin is forced by Simon’s agent, Frank Sachs (Cuba Gooding Jnr) to take the dog. Meantime, if he misses his meal at his local café served by the only waitress there who can deal with him, Carol (Helen Hunt), his life goes off track. So when her son, who suffers badly from Asthma, causes her to miss work, it sends his life totally off the rails.

Melvin is so totally offensive, but it’s so obviously a way to protect himself from the world and so you kind of deal with it. Especially because he does change as the film goes on. I expected to remember it as being overly cheesy, and I suspected that the depiction of OCD may have been somewhat simplified. However, it seems pretty reasonable – and while I think that it is believable that these changes can occur in Melvin’s life, it somewhat surprises me that changes haven’t happened prior to this late stage. But, the acting is fabulous, it really is an amazing cast and it is definitely worth watching.

As Good As It Gets won Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jack Nicholson) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Helen Hunt) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Greg Kinnear), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks), Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Music or Comedy Score.