Monday, February 26, 2007

Movie Log: The Good Girl

Seeing Friends With Money the other week got me thinking: "Wasn't Jennifer Aniston in some other movie, a couple of years back? Something that actually got good reviews?" The Good Girl was the movie I was thinking of, so The Wife and I saw it last night (yet another thrilling Saturday night date for the old married folks).

This is the one where she's married to John C. Reilly, living in a small Texas town, and has recently turned thirty -- that's about as interesting as her life gets, and it's beginning to bother her. So, when a spectacularly unsuitable young man (Jake Gylenhaal) starts working at the same store she does, she wanders into an affair with him.

This movie is about Aniston's character's choices, so it was was marred a bit for me by the fact that Gyllenhaal's character is clearly nuts; the possible life he offers to Aniston is a mirage (unless she's completely oblivious to his lunacy), so she doesn't have a real, balanced choice. For the movie's sake, I think it would have been stronger if he were a little bit more together -- as it is, he's a caricature of the Tortured Young Artist; so much so, that I started to believe (without the movie giving any specific evidence) that his "writings" were absolutely horrid.

I liked this movie, but I actually would have been more interested to see Gyllenhaal's character pursue a character played by Zooey Deschanel, who works at the same store. They're about the same age and are similarly disaffected. But Deschanel seems much more grounded, or, at least, that she knows what reality is, even if she would prefer to ignore it as much as possible.

This is also, pretty clearly, a whole movie about people finding ways to get through their lives: Reilly and his buddy smoke pot, Gyllenhall is Tortured, Deschanel is dismissive, Aniston is looking for True Love, another store worker is part of a bible study group, and yet another worker at the store talks to Aniston about eating healthy and correct makeup application. The underlying message is that nobody is actually happy with what or who they are, but that they're all trying to live with themselves and their lives. I certainly have days when I feel like that, so I can relate.

1 comment:

Sean O'Hara said...

Well Gyllenhal is playing a tortured artist -- some women find that attractive even if they have no taste in art. Though I believe Aniston's character says something near the end of the movie about how all of his stories have a sameness about them -- the protagonist is always a young man who's put upon by the world, etc.

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