As Good as It Gets
is a 1997
comedy film directed by James L. Brooks
starring Jack Nicholson
and Helen Hunt
. The film was nominated for an Academy
Award for Best
and won for Best Actor
and Best Actress
. It portrays an
who becomes involved in the lives of a single
mother and gay neighbor and how they grow personally as a result of
knowing each other. The movie is ranked number 140 on Empire's "The
500 Greatest Movies of All Time".
Udall is a racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic misanthrope who works at home as a
best-selling romance novelist in New York.
disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, puts off the
neighbors in his Manhattan apartment building and nearly everyone else with
whom he comes into contact.
Melvin eats breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant
every day using disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due
to his pathological germophobia
. He takes
an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt
), the only server at the restaurant
who can tolerate his demanding behavior.
One day, Melvin's neighbor, a gay artist named Simon Bishop
), is assaulted. Melvin is
forced to take care of the artist's dog Verdell while Simon is in
the hospital. Although he initially finds caring for the dog
distasteful, Melvin becomes emotionally attached to Verdell as he
simultaneously gains more attention from Carol. When Carol decides to
get a job closer to Brooklyn so she can
spend more time with her acutely asthmatic son, Melvin arranges to
pay for her son's medical expenses, albeit for his own selfish
Wary of owing Melvin for this gesture, Carol takes
to his apartment in
the middle of the night to tell him that she will not sleep with
In the meantime, Simon's assault and subsequent rehabilitation
coupled with the fact that Verdell seems to actually prefer Melvin,
causes him to lose his creative muse. Having no medical
insurance and facing eviction from his apartment due to non-payment
of rent, his friends convince him that he should go to Baltimore and ask his estranged parents for money, but in
order to do this, Simon needs Melvin to drive.
invites Carol to accompany them on the trip to lessen the
awkwardness between the two men and so he can court Carol
romantically. She reluctantly accepts the invitation and
relationships among the three develop.
returning to New York
City, Carol tells Melvin that she doesn't want him in
her life anymore.
She later regrets her statement and calls
him to apologize. The relationship between Melvin and Carol
remains complicated until Simon, who has moved in with Melvin until
he can get a new apartment, convinces Melvin to declare his love
for her at her apartment in Brooklyn, where the
two realize the depth of their personal connection.
ends with Melvin and Carol taking a walk together to buy fresh
rolls at the corner bakery.
The OST feaures instrumental pieces composed by Hans Zimmer and
songs by various artists.
- "As Good as It Gets" (Hans Zimmer)
- "A Better Man" (Zimmer)
- "Humanity" (Zimmer)
- "Too Much Reality" (Zimmer)
- "126.96.36.199.5" (Zimmer)
- "Greatest Woman on Earth" (Zimmer)
- "Everything My Heart Desires" (Danielle Brisebois)
- "Under Stars" (Phil Roy)
- "My Only" (Danielle
Sentimental Reasons " (Nat King
- "Hand on My Heart" (Judith
- "Climb on (A Back That's Strong)" (Shawn Colvin)
- "Always Look
on the Bright Side of Life" (Art
The film received generally positive reviews from film critics
and was nominated for and
received many film awards, including an Academy Award
nomination for Best Picture and
a Golden Globe
award for Best
Picture-Music or Comedy. Metacritic
web site that evaluates films by averaging its overall critical
response, gave the film a metascore of 67, signifying generally
favorable reviews.r"> Metacritic
Retrieved on January 7, 2009 The
film's two lead actors, Jack
and Helen Hunt
received Academy and Golden Globe awards for their performances.
film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
wrote that what
director James Brooks "Manages to do with (the characters) as they
struggle mightily to connect with one another is funny, painful,
beautiful, and basically truthful--a triumph for everyone
However, praise for the film was not uniform among critics.
gave "As Good As it Gets,"
three stars (out of four) and called the film a "compromise, a film
that forces a smile onto material that doesn't wear one easily,"
writing that the film drew "back to story formulas," but had good
dialog and performances. Washington
critic Desson Howe gave a generally negative review of the
movie, writing that it "gets bogged down in sentimentality, while
its wheels spin futilely in life-solving overdrive." Washington Post review
. Retrieved on January 7,
As Good as It Gets
was also a box
hit, opening at number three in the box office (behind
Tomorrow Never Dies
with $12.6 million dollars, and eventually earning over $148
million domestically and $341 million worldwide. It is Jack
Nicholson's second most lucrative film, behind Batman