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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 Picture and won for Best Actor and Best Actress. It portrays an obsessive-compulsive, misanthropic bigot 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".


Melvin Udall is a racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling romance novelist in New Yorkmarker. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, puts off the neighbors in his Manhattanmarker 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 (Greg Kinnear), 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 Brooklynmarker 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 reasons. Wary of owing Melvin for this gesture, Carol takes the train to his apartment in the middle of the night to tell him that she will not sleep with him.

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 Baltimoremarker and ask his estranged parents for money, but in order to do this, Simon needs Melvin to drive. Melvin 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.

After returning to New York Citymarker, 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 Brooklynmarker, where the two realize the depth of their personal connection. The film ends with Melvin and Carol taking a walk together to buy fresh rolls at the corner bakery.

Primary cast


The OST feaures instrumental pieces composed by Hans Zimmer and songs by various artists.

Track listing
  1. "As Good as It Gets" (Hans Zimmer)
  2. "A Better Man" (Zimmer)
  3. "Humanity" (Zimmer)
  4. "Too Much Reality" (Zimmer)
  5. "" (Zimmer)
  6. "Greatest Woman on Earth" (Zimmer)
  7. "Everything My Heart Desires" (Danielle Brisebois)
  8. "Under Stars" (Phil Roy)
  9. "My Only" (Danielle Brisebois)
  10. "For Sentimental Reasons " (Nat King Cole)
  11. "Hand on My Heart" (Judith Owen)
  12. "Climb on (A Back That's Strong)" (Shawn Colvin)
  13. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (Art Garfunkel)


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, a 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 Nicholson and Helen Hunt, both received Academy and Golden Globe awards for their performances. Chicago Reader 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 involved."

However, praise for the film was not uniform among critics. Roger Ebert 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 Post 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, 2009

As Good as It Gets was also a box office hit, opening at number three in the box office (behind Titanic and 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.





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