The Goodbye Girl (1977)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance


The Goodbye Girl (1977) Poster

After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, an unemployed dancer and her 10-year-old daughter are reluctantly forced to live with a struggling off-Broadway actor.


7.4/10
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  • Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  • "The Goodbye Girl" Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason 1977 Warner Brothers
  • Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  • Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  • Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  • Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl (1977)

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12 February 2006 | theowinthrop
10
| Another successful Simon "Odd Couple" story
Neil Simon is consistent. He loves to use and reuse the "ODD COUPLE" plot with variations in one play or another: in the original ODD COUPLE, it's female version (shown in the early 1990s), the sequel film with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, the play (and movie) THE SUNSHINE BOYS - where the apartment is a lifelong comedy team partnership, and this one. Here it is Marcia Mason and her daughter, Quinn Cummings, who are always being deserted by Mason's husband or her series of boy-friends who usually are actors. Mason has become determined never again to trust or date an actor. But the apartment happens to be in the name of her last boyfriend, and he has made a subletting deal with out-of-town actor Richard Dreyfus. Dreyfus is determined to stay in the apartment while in New York (he is starring in a production within the city - off Broadway). He and Mason gradually agree to cease their hostilities and to share the apartment, but Mason finds Dreyfus weird: he is only eating special food, and he chants and plays the guitar at night. On the other hand Quinn Cummings finds he's not such a bad guy (he helps her when she has a headache, relaxing her to sleep).

The play that Dreyfus is appearing in the lead role in is Shakespeare's RICHARD III. It is being produced by Paul Benedict (a rare big part for that good comic actor), but his ideas about the production are upsetting Dreyfus. Dreyfus is approaching the role in the classical, "Olivier" form - the master, evil Machiavellian monarch. Machiavellian to be sure in Benedict's version, but also gay. As Benedict pushes it, it is the story of "the Queen who would be King". Dreyfus's performance of the play within the film, following Benedict's direction, is an everlasting comic joy.

The highs and lows of the two warring suite mates follows a romantic course, as they gradually fall in love with each other. Will this actor prove to be another one of those typically selfish actors that Mason resents, or will he prove to be different to her and Cummings - will he be the real love of her life?

A first rate comedy, and Dreyfus' Oscar - a well earned one.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marsha Mason recalled a scene between her and Quinn Cummings in which Cummings was supposed to say her line and move to a chair and sit down. "I noticed that she did it exactly the same way every time. Acting that way shows good discipline, but the freshness can go away pretty quickly." Mason decided she wanted to try something different just to see how it might change the scene. "Quinn and I started the scene again and when it came time for her to move to the chair," said Mason, "I sat in it instead. Naturally, she was thrown by this and looked to Herb. He carefully and quietly explained to Quinn that in life we never know what another person is going to do and we don't always know how we are going to respond to someone or something. She listened intently, nodded her head, and said, 'I got it.' She was extraordinary in her ability to go with it. At nine!"


Quotes

Paula McFadden: Five minutes! Leave your bags this isn't a permanent conversation.
Elliot Garfield: I'm dripping on your rug.
Paula McFadden: It's been dripped on before.
Elliot Garfield: Look, I'm sorry about this. I didn't know there were going to be any complications.
Paula McFadden: There's a lot of that going around lately.
Elliot Garfield: I ...
Paula McFadden: ...


Goofs

Paula makes sandwiches with Best Foods mayonnaise, but in the eastern U.S., the Best Foods brand is called Hellman's.


Soundtracks

How About You?
(1941) (uncredited)
Music written by
Burton Lane
Lyrics written by Ralph Freed
Played on a record and sung by Richard Dreyfuss

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Comedy | Drama | Romance

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