Movie Review: Netflix’s “Good Sam” explores the human condition

Two things prompted me to check out the new Netflix original film, “Good Sam.” The first was the lead actress, Tiya Sircar, who I recognized from NBC’s show “The Good Place.” The other was the fact her character was a news reporter.

It’s interesting to see your own profession portrayed on screen. And in the case of journalists and news anchors, it’s surprising when they are portrayed in a positive light.

Sircar plays Kate Bradley, a young investigative news reporter in New York City. Kate is a determined, if a bit reckless reporter who specializes in covering breaking news like fires and car crashes.

Bradley’s editor, David (Mark Camacho) assigns her to a seemingly “boring” story: a woman who found $100,000 in cash sitting on her doorstep. The woman is certain it had been a Good Samaritan; Kate guesses the money might be tied to drugs.

But then another bag of money is found—and another. The recipients have no connection and live in entirely different parts of the city. Kate and David dub him “Good Sam.” The city is swept up in the story.

As someone who works in a newsroom, I appreciated the portrayal of the news team and their dynamic, as well as the fact that Kate was cynical about Good Sam’s motives. It can be hard, after covering so many negative stories, to believe someone could do something so positive without asking for anything in return.

“Good Sam” is based on a novel by Dete Meserve of the same name. I haven’t read the book, but I enjoyed the characters in the film. A standout was the hilarious Jess Camacho (Mark Camacho’s son) in the role of Josh, Kate’s cameraman.

The film deals with questions like: Are people inherently good or bad? Why do people immediately think the worst (or best) of others? Is it unrealistic to think someone could be giving away thousands of dollars to strangers?

There were aspects of the film that fell flat, mainly due to forced romantic subplots. The relationship between Kate and Eric (Chad Connell), a firefighter Kate meets during her hunt for Good Sam, seemed unnecessary in the grand scheme of the story and was often cringeworthy. There was also a love triangle—one of my least favorite tropes ever.

As much as I do like Sircar, and am thrilled that an Indian-American woman was chosen for a main role, her and a few of her castmates’ acting was a bit jarring and unrealistic at times. I suppose it’s just a matter of getting more experience; I do hope to see Sircar in future projects.

“Good Sam” had enough twists and dramatic build up to keep me invested for its entire 1 1/2 hour runtime. Despite its issues, its protagonists were likable, and I enjoyed the questions it put forth about the human condition.

R-P Rating: 3/5