The Good Girl is a gritty, neo-nihilistic film about meaningless life in small-town America that provides the backdrop for a sitcom star’s cinematic breakthrough, but little else.

Still, a lot of credit has to be given to Jennifer Aniston for finally breaking out of the “Rachel Green” yuppie Friends stereotype that made her a star.

The film in which she has accomplished this feat, The Good Girl, provides the vehicle for Aniston to prove that she is a good actress, but does not have enough gas left in the tank to be exemplary.

Aniston plays Justine, a small-town girl mired in a dull, routine marriage to a pot-smoking house painter and a mind-numbing, meaningless job at a local retail store. Her life is more or less a thoughtless accident until she meets a new co-worker, a boy who has named himself Holden after the main character in The Catcher in the Rye and plays all too well the role of the brooding pseudo-intellectual.

Needless to say, a secret affair begins between Justine and Holden, and the film follows the story of the deceit, pain and consequences of the affair. Throughout the film, Justine is forced to make a choice between her feelings of emptiness and despair in her old life and the exciting but turbulent affair with Holden.

This movie was well-acted from the top down, with a superb performance from Aniston, and also great supporting work from Jake Gyllenhaal as Holden, and John C. Reilly as Justine’s husband, Phil.

The Good Girl was inhibited, however, by a lack of authenticity. The characters within the small, southern town are treated with condescension and contempt by the filmmakers, and the picture itself just meanders along until the end.

The acting is good, but sadly not good enough to prop up the sagging plot. I guess the filmmakers might be trying to make a point about necessity and possibility, but it could have been done in a much better way than The Good Girl, for example Erick Zonca’s great film of 1998, The Dreamlife of Angels.

At the end of the day, go see The Good Girl if you want to see a well-acted, depressing film about a bunch of hayseeds who don’t think life can be any better than it is. If you go in expecting this, than you will not be disappointed.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.