The Good Luck of Right Now Review
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In 2012, director David O. Russell’s big-screen adaptation of author Matthew Quick’s best-selling debut, The Silver Linings Playbook (see my review), became a hit with both critics and audiences alike. Now, Quick returns with another charming tale of mental instability and family dysfunction in The Good Luck of Right Now.

The Good Luck of Right Now follows Bartholomew Neil as he struggles to start a new life. For nearly 40 years, his world has revolved around his mother. He lived with her and cared for her until cancer claimed her life. Now he finds himself alone and completely lost—without a family, a job, or a plan for the future.

When Bartholomew finds a form letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother’s drawer, he’s convinced that it must be a sign. Toward the end of her life, Bartholomew’s mother started calling him Richard, and he spent his mother’s final days pretending to be her favorite actor. Now, as he sets out to find his path, he confides in the actor through a series of letters.

  
 
If you’re familiar with The Silver Linings Playbook, you’ll know what to expect from The Good Luck of Right Now. The two stories share many of the same elements: outsiders, mental illness, family dysfunction. They also have the same lovably damaged characters and the same irresistible charm.

Bartholomew’s story is bittersweet—the story of a lonely man-child who struggles to move on after losing his mother and ends up bonding with a band of eccentric outcasts in the process. Bartholomew has no job, no friends (except for a supportive but unstable priest), and no life outside Saturday Mass and his frequent trips to the library. Though he’s pushing 40, he’s like a lost little boy, leaning on an imaginary friendship with a famous actor and his mother’s long-held philosophies to help him through his grief. He’s just so sad—and so naive—that you can’t help but fall in love with this lovable loser and hope that everything will work out for him in the end.

The supporting characters, meanwhile, have their own quirks—from the aging priest who defrocks himself and moves into Bartholomew’s home to Bartholomew’s first real friend, Max, a foul-mouthed man who’s mourning the loss of his cat. Like the conflicted main character, however, these characters add equal parts sadness, hope, and humor to the story.

The Richard Gere angle, however, can sometimes be a bit problematic. While Bartholomew’s obsession with the actor and his Buddhist beliefs adds another level to the story, the execution is sometimes a bit clunky. The letter format itself isn’t much of a distraction, but Quick’s insistence on frequently reminding readers that this is, in fact, a letter to Richard Gere can be off-putting at times—and Bartholomew’s final letter ends the story with some unexpected questions.

This peculiar tale isn’t without its share of awkwardness. But, in the end, it’s an irresistible read—a tragic but uplifting story following a bunch of oddly charming characters on a quest for friendship, contentment, and maybe even a little bit of good luck.


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