The Good Girl (2002)

Well that was depressing. It’s been a long time since Blue Valentine, and I think it just about time anyways for me to get that second dose of negativity towards marriage. Just like Blue Valentine, the characters of this movie captivated me from start to end. It would be hard to not be affected by this movie.

I was looking at you in the store and I liked how you kept to yourself. I saw in your eyes that you hate the world. I hate it too. – Justine

I knew I would like this movie within the first two minutes of the film. Justine (played by Jennifer Aniston) talked about how the world seemed like a giant candy store when she was young, and somehow before she realised, her life had turned into a prison. The mundane every day she has to put up with, her boring husband, her stupid job, her hypocritical colleagues… I wonder why she puts up with this.

The word “escape” comes up a lot during this movie. And I believe it is what this movie is about. Every character seems to be fighting their own battles, and no one ever seemed truly satisfied with their lives. Some of them pretend to be happy, some pretend to be more righteous, but it’s all bullshit. They’re just trudging on, aimlessly, like cattle chewing on grass (as Justine says in the beginning). Everyone is unhappy. Everyone. The Good Girl is about the folks who were brave enough to do something about it.

I’ll be honest, this isn’t a movie I would rewatch. But I do encourage fans of Rachel (or Friends, for that matter) to catch this film when they get the chance. Jennifer Anniston plays a role so convincing I don’t think I can look at her in the same way again. I actually loved her character, Justine, she was gentle but cunning and I loved that she wasn’t just one of those wives who cheated on their husbands. Her ability to stay calm despite the madness all around her was surprisingly empowering (to me). Like Isabelle Huppert’s character in Elle, although it seemed as if she was taken advantage of by all the men in the film, her indifference towards her plight showed that she was always in control.

If you’re thinking of watching this film solely because you like Jake Gyllenhaal, I suggest you think twice. He plays this whiny 22 year old kid who doesn’t know a thing about responsibility, and I honestly liked his character the least. Gyllenhaal plays the role so well that I got uncomfortable just by watching him during his mental breakdowns. A little bit like his role in Nightcrawler. You’d feel sorry for him at times, but on the whole you wouldn’t like him that much.

The Good Girl was a really good film, one that sets you thinking without demanding a lot of effort on your part to think and reflect after the film. Questions are asked throughout and you would naturally start wondering too. Then again, wondering if you’re happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed. You should actually watch it just to admire Aniston’s performance. Maybe I should also consider watching Cake. Anyway, this film also has some really great lines (not as many as 20th Century Women) but enough to introduce some new perspectives into the way you see the world.

I would recommend this to people who thought Blue Valentine was a good film, people who are okay with depressing themes. I wouldn’t watch this film a second time, because it isn’t enjoyable.

More Information

Trailer: Contains spoilers
Rating: R21 (2 sex scenes, 1 male nudity scene, and 2 masturbation scenes)
Would Rewatch: No
Enjoyable: No
Good Film: Yes

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