The Good Girl

The Good Girl


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

An odd little film which persistently defies audience expectations, The Good Girl combines the basic tropes of a chick flick romance with realism and intelligence, producing something much darker but more genuinely emotionally affecting. Key to making this work is the parallel transformation of Jennifer Aniston from all-American giggly airhead comedy star to a bored, moody, secretly passionate retail clerk; there is not a hint of the former, as she gives the performance of her career. The story at first seems simple - a lonely housewife working in a tedious job meets an intense young man who makes promises of undying love and wants to run away with her - a romantic road movie beckons. But Justine, despite her complaints about her life, has a lingering affection for husband and home, and is determined to make practical choices. She is full of doubts about her own moral choices, and she comes to doubt the maturity and sanity of her admirer. Surrounded by people who think only of themselves, she is tempted to do the same, but, while others fantasise about being different and powerful, there is something within her which is genuinely so. Contrary to chick flick logic, it is precisely because of this that her dreams won't come true.

This is a film about the nature of escapist fantasy and the routes which people take to achieve it. There is very little cinema which pays so much attention to the mundane life of the working classes, especially unfashionable small town Texans; The Good Girl addresses its characters' concerns clearly and honestly, with refreshing respect. It is impressive to see a film about undereducated characters with limited ability to express themselves which has such an intelligent script. Unfortunately, because of the way it has been marketed, it is doubtful that the people who would most appreciate The Good Girl will ever get to see it, while a host of young women who'd been hoping for a cheerful night out will be going home depressed and confused (but, hopefully, thinking).

Copy picture Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2007
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The Good Girl packshot
Check-out girl falls for stock room boy in tale of love and larceny.
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Read more The Good Girl reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****

Director: Miguel Arteta

Writer: Mike White

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, Zooey Deschanel, Tim Blake Nelson, Deborah Rush, John Carroll Lynch, Mike White

Year: 2002

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US/Germany/Netherlands


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