As Good as It Gets  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by James L. Brooks and produced by Laura Ziskin. It stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic, obsessive-compulsive novelist, Helen Hunt as a single mother with an asthmatic son, and Greg Kinnear as a gay artist. The screenplay was written by Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks.

Both Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Academy Award for Best Actress, respectively. As Good as It Gets still remained as the last film to win both of the lead acting awards, and the first since 1991. It is ranked 140th on Empire magazine's "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.

Plot

Melvin Udall is a misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling novelist in New York City. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive 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. He 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 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 Simon comes home Melvin has to return the dog, a situation he is unable to cope with. He rushes to his Psychiatrist who throws him out since he has not made an appointment. On his way out, Melvin turns to the other patients in the waiting room and says, "What if this is as good as it gets?"

Melvin's life is further altered when Carol decides to get a job closer to Brooklyn so she can spend more time with her acutely asthmatic son (Jesse James). Unable to adjust to another waitress, Melvin arranges to pay for her son's medical expenses. 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 rehabilitation, coupled with Verdell's preference for Melvin, causes Simon to lose his creative muse. His agent, Frank Sachs (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), seeing Simon has no medical insurance and mounting hospital bills, and is facing eviction due to unpaid rent, convinces Simon to go to Baltimore and ask his estranged parents for money. Frank offers Melvin use of his car for the trip. Melvin invites Carol to accompany them on the trip to lessen the awkwardness. She reluctantly accepts the invitation and relationships among the three develop.

After returning to New York City, Carol tells Melvin that she does not 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, whom Melvin has allowed to move in with him 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. The film ends with Melvin and Carol taking a walk together to buy fresh rolls at the corner bakery.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "As Good as It Gets" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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