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The Good Girl /

Rated: R

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, Tim Blake Nelson, Zooey Deschanel

Directed by: Miguel Arteta 

Produced by: Matthew Greenfield, Kirk D'Amico, Philip von Alvensleben, Carol Baum 

Written by: Mike White 

Distributor: Fox Searchlight


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     The Good Girl is a powerful drama about a woman trapped in a desolate and depressing small town life. She tries to find an inner-freedom and be eternally happy for the things she has; but in reality she finds herself suffocating. There is nothing special about this film; but the tremendous impact that it shoves onto you is so gigantic, that you can’t help but support the characters thoughts, hopes, and dreams. The sense of emotional captivity the picture gives off is awe-inspiring once you think about it. The acting in this is similar to that of In the Bedroom; the performances are so well done you feel like your watching reality unfold, just on a screen. For such a low budget, this was an incredible achievement. The Good Girl is mind-blowing in all areas of the game.

     Jennifer Anniston offered one of the best performances of the year along with fabulous narration. The way she held her efforts steady throughout the whole movie and didn’t change any of her characters values or personality traits during the course of shooting it was groundbreaking. Usually there are tiny glitches in an actors’ performance because of their mood changes off-set on a day-to-day basis; since it takes at least a month to shoot a feature length film. She was able to consistently maintain the type of homeostasis that a person lives by in such an emotionally shaky town during the whole picture. I have never watched an episode of “Friends” in my life; but I might start to soon if she’s this good all the time; she certainly fit this role perfectly, against many odds.

     I’m not sure why there is an all of the sudden need for Jake Gyllenhaal to be in peoples’ movies, but he was very good in this movie given the challenging role he was presented with. He’s in Moonlight Mile, Lovely and Amazing, and this; three very critically acclaimed films. Here he plays the character of Holden, a guy that Justine (Anniston) has a “small” affair with; and assumes that she is similar to him in every way. He does feel constrained because of the small-town life, and hates everyone on the planet like she. But, he is insane and wants sex a little too much, unlike her. Overall he was outstanding regardless of his characters odd-ball type, as did everyone else in the cast.

     I like the original score composed for the use of this film. For an unknown reason, the music felt like my only retreat from the gloomy plot, its most likely intention. I actually had fun walking out of them theatre to its catchy beat and classical guitar riffs! I don’t mean to sound happy-go-luck or anything but I did; and it surprised me. The only other soundtrack I liked to this extent in two-thousand-two was the one created by Thomas Newman for The Road to Perdition. Both this and that contained extremely strong pieces.

     The Good Girl is astonishingly powerful. Like Blue Crush I was not enticed into seeing it by the trailers, but I took the chance and enjoyed it anyways. The acting is “Grade-A”, the soundtrack fits the mood of the picture extremely well, and the director took advantage of his low budget. This film has tremendous Oscar potential and shall be remembered in the race. At the moment, this is the best example of wonderful filmmaking that comes to mind.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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