A GOOD PERSON*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Mark
The movie begins, showing us the town, and Allison (Florence Pugh) swims in an indoor pool. Daniel (Morgan Freeman) narrates as he works on his model train exhibit in his home, talking about how the enthusiast gets to create their own world. At a party, Allison sings at a piano, and her fiancé, Nathan (Chinaza Uche), makes a speech about how he’s excited to marry her. In their bedroom, Allison talks about how she uses flirtation to sell prescriptions to doctors as a Purdue sales rep.
The next scene, Allison is on the New Jersey Turnpike, driving her future sister-in-law and her husband to look at wedding dresses with her. The two brag about how well their daughter, Ryan, is doing in school and how she might get a scholarship with Stanford because of her prowess as a soccer player. One lane is closed for construction, causing a traffic jam. They talk about how Nathan doesn’t talk to his dad (Daniel/Morgan Freeman) anymore. The couple mention wanting to go see a Broadway play that night. Allison uses her phone to see what’s available for tickets and doesn’t notice a backhoe heading towards the closed-off lane she’s in.
Daniel drops his 16-year-old granddaughter Ryan (Celeste O’Connor) off at school. He gets a phone call from Nathan, who he is estranged from, and learns that her mother has been killed in the car accident. Allison is bruised in the hospital, drugged up, as her mom Diane (Molly Shannon) tries to comfort her. Nathan is stunned, not wanting to let her know about bad news he already knows. A police officer arrives, needing a blood sample because it involves a fatality. Nathan tells her that both his brother and his sister-in-law were killed in the accident. Daniel is outside, watching silently.
ONE YEAR LATER, Allison cuts her hair off. She is now living with her mother, and she is desperate to get her prescription for drug medication refilled. Diane points out that she’s not in physical pain anymore and none of the doctors are going to give her prescriptions anymore. Allison tells her mom that she uses Xanax and drinks wine, so she wants her own pills. When told there are no pills, Allison rushes to the bathroom and grabs a remaining bottle of Oxy. The two wrestle over it, and Diane flushes the pills down the toilet. Allison tells her she hates her and leaves the house.
No longer feeling comfortable behind the wheel of a car, Allison rides her bike to the pharmacy. Meanwhile, on the soccer field, Ryan is taunted by a rival soccer player who is jealous over a boy. When the rival mentions her mom dying, Ryan punches her and is removed from the game. She is revealed to have anger issues while Daniel tries to calm her down. At the pharmacy, Allison tries to get Oxycotin and is told she’s out of refills so she’s probably trying to be weaned off of them. Allison is rude and aggressive about getting a refill but is given a pamphlet about opioid addiction. She shoplifts some hair clips on the way out, then rides her bike home.
Allison looks for hidden pills in the bathroom and finds photos of her with Nathan, back when they were together. She drinks some medicine instead and has flashbacks to the car accident. The next day, Allison rides her bike to a lunch meeting in a fancy restaurant with someone she knew from her days as a sales rep at Purdue. Allison tries to order a Jack and Coke but is told they don’t serve alcohol that early in the morning. When Allison lets it be known she wants a prescription. The woman tells her she can’t do that but she could just ask a drug dealer. Allison blackmails her, saying she’ll reveal what happened at her bachelorette party, upsetting her former coworker and the meeting is over.
Daniel is called into Ryan’s high school because her attitude problem is leading towards expulsion. Allison goes to a bar, orders a tequila, and sees two kids from high school — Mark (Alex Wolff) and Diego — who mention how she used to be engaged to Nathan, who was a running-back. He also mentions that Nathan is deaf in one ear (which comes into play later in the movie). After a long conversation, it’s mentioned how she used to be a bitch to them because she was popular in high school. At this moment, she is in such a low state she asks Mark to help her get some Oxy. They say they don’t fuck with pills, but she says they’re the guys who always knew where to get drugs. She asks them to help her with money and also to pay for her drink; they’re amused at how far she’s fallen from high school. Allison admits she thought of them as Jersey trash who would never get out, and Mark points out now she’s right beside them, looking for a fix. He points out she’s a junkie now, but she is in denial. He promises to buy her whatever she wants as long as she says, “I’m a fucking junkie” so she finally relents.
Mark and Diego help Allison score drugs. She goes home, sick, and her mom reveals she was worried after she had been missing for so long. Diane has managed to scrounge up some Oxycontin from friends and gives them to Allison. They talk about how her father is an awful person after abandoning Allison. Daniel goes home to find Ryan having sex with an older boy and he scares the boy out the house, via the window. Daniel grounds her and takes her phone. He goes to the locked-up liquor cabinet and pulls out a bottle of whiskey, opens it, but doesn’t drink.
Allison rides her bike to an Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting and is surprised to see Daniel there. She tries to leave, but Daniel convinces her to stay. He tells her he’s been sober for ten years, but he needs more support lately. She asks if the accident is why he’s feeling a need to drink again, and he finally admits yes. She again says she’ll go to another meeting, but he says she found her way to this one and convinces her to join.
Allison wants to go an in-patient facility but they can’t afford it. Diane says Allison needs to get a job but Allison doesn’t feel like her competent, capable self anymore. Nathan meets Daniel in the park, even though they don’t talk much anymore, because Ryan has been saying he’s been smothering her. Nathan talks about how his sister and him were terrified of him; he always made them afraid. Before he leaves, Daniel admits he saw Allison at an AA meeting and Nathan. Nathan points out that Daniel blaming her for the loss of his daughter is why she’s probably suffering. At the train station, Nathan watches a video of him and Allison, back when they were engaged.
At an AA meeting, Daniel talks about his struggle with alcohol addiction. His father was a drunk, and he used to physically assault him, which he promised never to do to his kids. But as he became a drunk, he would blackout and find his kids were beaten so bad, they’d have to be taken to the hospital — causing him to lose hearing in his right ear, how he became deaf. Allison and him go out to eat afterward. Allison tells Daniel that he wasn’t drunk or high when she had the car accident. Daniel tells her he’s written every report ever written on the accident. Allison tells Daniel that Nathan claimed he was born deaf so he must have not wanted Daniel to be vilified. Daniel tells her he’s way over his head raising Ryan. Allison suggests talking to Ryan, but he shuts that down and she realizes it won’t work since she killed Ryan’s mom.
At home, Daniel talks to Ryan about how he’s having trouble raising her. He asks her if she uses protection during sex. She admits she only is talking to him because she wants her phone back. He suggests she gets on birth control pills.
Allison talks to another AA member in the park, as they talk about how she used to be a competitive swimmer until her father started a new family in Ohio. Allison mentions the only thing he left behind was his Rolex. The woman mentions that she’ll be Allison’s sponsor if she finally talks during a meeting. So, Allison does — she talks about how she got addicted to pills after being in a bad car accident where two people die, including her future sister-in-law. And she’s used to the prescription to pain medication to escape from her pain. And now, without the drugs, she wants to die.
Daniel takes Allison to his home to show off the model train town. He mentions that the town is inspired by South Orange, the New Jersey town he grew up in. The miniature soldier is him, the day he got home from Vietnam. Other figurines are his father who came down to the station to pick him up. When she emerges from the basement, Allison runs into Ryan, who got home from school early that day. When Ryan realizes it’s the woman who killed her mom, she screams at Allison to get out and points out it’s where her mom used to live. Allison apologizes and says she wishes it were her. Before she can leave, Daniel invites her to dinner.
Over dinner, Allison asks if she’s an alcoholic since she met Daniel at AA. Allison explains she’s been addicted to prescription painkillers. Ryan says kids at her school snort it and asks Allison why she dumped her Uncle Nate. Allison says she was upset, and so she ran. Daniel points out she quit soccer, and Allison asks about that. Ryan says she hates all the girls on the team. Allison says her parents used to boast about how great of a soccer player she was and how she was going to get a scholarship. Daniel points out she quit the team, is mouthing out in school, and isn’t doing well in school. Ryan says she used to have a 4.0 and could get it back in a second if she cared, but she no longer does after losing her mom. Allison decides to go but gives her her phone number first.
The next day, Ryan invites Allison to coffee so she can learn more about the accident that killed her mom. The two begin a friendly relationship where they chat over text. Allison convinces her to go back to the soccer team, and she’ll go see her play. Ryan agrees, so those girls won’t keep her from getting into Stanford. Allison attends the game and watches Ryan score a goal. Daniel gives Allison a silent nod, successful at having got Ryan to be responsible again.
At home, Allison is having withdrawals at night. When she finally meets Ryan for coffee, Ryan asks Allison if she was using her phone (we know she did, to look up Broadway plays), and Ryan tells her Daniel has seen all the reports, including the phone records, and has them all memorized by now. She also says that she thinks Allison should have stayed with her uncle Nate — and lets her know that he has a new dog and also a new girlfriend. Allison is upset, and crying, but says she wants Nate to be happy. She stands up to leave and walks by Daniel, who is watching on from another table. Allison goes into the bathroom and looks Nathan up on Instagram to see his new life, something she’s avoided doing for the last year. On her way out, Allison tells Daniel she’s going to go because she’s sick with withdrawals.
Allison goes home, crushes up Oxycontin, snorts it, and fades. Diane tries to talk to her about starting a business on Etsy; Allison instead messages Ryan, who invites Allison to see a musical show in New York where a “hot guy” she likes will be. Allison thinks Daniel wouldn’t want them going out, but Ryan points out she’s going either way, so if Ryan doesn’t go, she’ll be unsupervised. Allison is upset at herself for not staying sober and tells herself, “I hate you so much” in the mirror. She goes in the bathroom and downs the bottle of pills — thinks of her past life with Nathan — and then spits it all out.
At the train station, Allison arrives to escort Ryan. Daniel stops by the house and talks to Diane; Ryan is missing, and he wonders if she’s with Allison, who is also missing. Diane thanks him for being so nice to Allison.
Ryan and Allison go to see the band. The “hot guy” she mentioned is actually the older boy she had sex with earlier. Allison is listening to the music when Ryan suddenly surprises her with both Nathan and his new girlfriend. Upset, Allison goes to the bar. Ryan admits she wanted to get Nathan and Allison back together, and she didn’t expect his new girlfriend to come along.
Allison orders some tequila at the bar, accusing Ryan of doing that on purpose when she checks in. Ryan’s boyfriend invites Allison and Ryan to a party in Williamsburg and Allison agrees. Daniel calls Allison’s sponsor to try to figure out where Ryan and Allison are; it’s suggested he used Find My Phone to track down Ryan, which he’s never heard of.
At the party, everyone is drinking and doing drugs. Ryan is kissing her boyfriend in a bedroom, sick from being drunk, not hearing her text ring. Daniel finds out where she’s located, and he threatens to kill her. Daniel shows up to the party and points a gun at the boy in bed with Ryan. Nate is there and he talks him out of shooting the boyfriend. Daniel says he has nothing left to lose but Nate points out he still has him and Ryan. Daniel finally lowers the gun and Nate punches the boyfriend instead. Outside, Daniel asks Allison why she’s there; she says she was trying to protect Ryan and fix things. Daniel tells her she will never be able to fix the things she’s done — he wants his life back, his daughter back. He admits that he wanted to hate her, and when she walked into the meeting, he felt it was God testing him. And now she won’t stay away from his granddaughter who has no mother or father. He calls Allison a fucking waste of a soul.” He tells her this wasn’t how it’s supposed to be because he’s a good person. Before he goes into a taxi, he admits that he knows, based on phone records, that she was looking at her phone, and it delayed her response — thus making her to blame for the deaths of his daughter and her husband. Allison has a panic attack.
Allison wakes up in her sponsor’s home. She goes to a pawn shop and gives her dad’s Rolex for money. She then uses that money to check into a rehab facility. While there, she attends meetings, is given regulated pills, starts singing again, and starts swimming again. Meanwhile, Ryan continues to play soccer as she had started to do recently. Ryan and Daniel’s relationship is repaired as she becomes a happier version of herself again.
Now better, Allison is receptive to Nathan when he comes to visit her. Allison admits she didn’t know how to handle her own grief, and she abandoned him and was selfish. But she didn’t want to hurt him again, and it was her fault because she was looking at her phone. She gives him an apology she never could before. She also tells him how Nate’s dad (Daniel) kept her alive. And she wants to make it clear that she loved him so much and she will always grieve for the life they might have had. He mentions that it’d be nice if they could find a way to be in each other’s lives again.
Allison finishes her time at rehab, one year clear, a better version of herself. She then gets a job working at a restaurant and singing at a piano. She gets a call learning Daniel has died. She organizes the reception after his funeral and stops by his miniature train town. There is an envelope with her name on it by a figurine of a girl on a bicycle. The letter is Daniel telling Allison that in the miniature version of a city, everything is always positive and without problems, but real life isn’t as neat and tidy. Nathan is going to move home and be Ryan’s guardian until she goes off to college; he suggests Allison help out because Nate was always the best version of himself when he was with her. He is grateful for the last year of his life when Nate and him were reunited and no longer estranged.
Ryan finds Allison in the basement and invites her upstairs. They comfort each other on the front porch.
Allison is a happy woman engaged to be married to a high school boyfriend. While driving her fiancé’s sister and her husband, she uses her phone to check for theater times and doesn’t see a backhoe headed towards the car, which ultimately kills the passengers. Time has passed and Allison becomes addicted to oxycontin, no longer drives, and has separated from her fiancé. The sister’s father, Daniel, is now raising her daughter, Ryan, who has become angry and difficult after losing her mom. Daniel runs into Allison at an AA meeting and is kind to her. When Ryan catches the two of them together in their home, she is mad but Daniel invites her to dinner so they can talk. Allison finds new purpose as a parent for Ryan because Daniel doesn’t know how to relate to an angry teen. In the end, Daniel admits he knows Allison was on the phone and it’s her fault he lost his daughter. Time passes and Allison goes to rehab and gets clean; Daniel dies but Allison remains in Ryan’s life, at the request of Daniel, who acknowledges how good of an influence she was.