Good Sam is one of those original movies that justifies that month’s Netflix subscription by itself. It’s a compelling and captivating film that doesn’t rely on the normal tropes to keep its audience invested.
Tiya Sircar (The Internship) plays Kate Bradley, a TV reporter who gets her adrenaline rush covering the bummer beat of fires, robberies and worse. While covering the latest fire, Kate meets a firefighter Eric (Chad Connell), who doesn’t consider his actions heroic.
Not long after a function for her Senator father (Ivan Smith), Kate encounters the charming hedge fund manager Jack (Marco Grazzini) with a clear interest.
Kate’s fearless attitude has scared the network suits who want her to handle less dangerous scenarios. That prompts her station manager to assign her a cupcake story with a woman who found a bag of $100,000 outside her stoop. But she’s not the only one receiving these mysterious $100k bags of money.
Convinced there’s more to the story than a simple Good Samaritan, Kate tries to uncover all the angles and get to the bottom of the mystery, which only gets more complicated the longer she sticks with it.
And while she tackles the Good Sam story, Kate finds herself equally conflicted with her feelings for Jack and Eric.
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There’s so much I loved about this movie, which is an adaptation of Dete Meserve’s 2015 novel. Meserve co-wrote the screenplay with Teena Booth to help retain the book’s good-natured feel.
For starters, the film was overflowing with so much diversity. In theory this is how most films set in New York should be, but Good Sam did it right. It’s one huge thing to have a film starring an Indian-American, but it’s another to have a romantic lead of Filipino heritage, Asian and black co-workers and regularly encounter people of color. That’s still a big deal even as there seems to be more of an effort with Netflix films to feature more diverse casts.
Next, while the film has romantic elements, the focus of the film isn’t if Kate will find the right guy. It’s about seeing her story to completion through all of the various twists and turns. And if a cool guy happens to come along, that’s a nice bonus. Sircar gave Kate this terrific modern day Lois Lane vibe of a reporter tracking down a great story with no Superman in sight. Turns out, her exploits are just as interesting in their own way.
Director Kate Melville actually makes honest reporting fun and interesting. As a former newspaper reporter, I always enjoy seeing the profession shown in a positive light and not just the irritants to the cool characters in movies. Melville deftly shifts tones from a mystery to romance to a peek behind the hard work and dedication required to be a good journalist.
I also really appreciated the non-cliche take on Kate’s workplace. The top reporter, Susan (Kelly Hope Taylor), isn’t some obnoxious prima donna and actually is supportive and encouraging of Kate’s efforts. That’s the general attitude at the newsroom with no traces of backstabbing and a lack of general cutthroat behavior even with reporters at rival stations. Maybe it’s not realistic, but it certainly was refreshing.
The payoff for Good Sam actually worked as well. Since the film wasn’t so dependent on a romantic happy ending, there’s a bit more surprises than the standard romance drama.
Meserve actually has written a follow-up to Good Sam with Kate’s latest adventure. With any luck Netflix will immediately move ahead with the sequel. Just like the world could always use a few more kind-hearted people looking to make a difference, we can definitely use more movies like Good Sam.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix