Monday, August 6, 2018

Review of "The Good Girl," DVD version

Review of
The Good Girl, DVD version

Four out of five stars
 The cover of the case of the version I viewed had the two blurbs, “Sly, comic and touching” and “A comedy of winning delicacy and heart.” Quite frankly, I wonder if they were watching this movie when they expressed those opinions, for this is not a comedy. It is an episode of the darker reality of the lives so many people live.
 Jennifer Aniston plays the character of Justine Last and she is caught in a soul and life sucking job as a clerk at a large department store, complete with blue smock and name tag. Early in the movie she comes home from work and finds her husband (a house painter) and his partner and best buddy sitting on the couch in their paint-stained work clothes. Even worse, they are well into the process of smoking a significant amount of marijuana. As the viewer learns very soon, her husband is not too bright, even when there are no psychoactive drugs coursing through his brain.
 Her frustrations with her life and circumstances having built up, Justine encounters a much younger co-worker that goes by the name of “Holden,” after the main character in the classic book “Catcher in the Rye” by Salinger. Holden claims to be a writer and due to many factors, Jennifer willingly enters into a torrid sexual affair with him, even though he is in his twenties and still living with his parents.
 Jennifer quickly learns that Holden is incredibly needy and mentally unstable, but she is seduced by the presence of something exciting in her life. However, the situation starts to unravel as she is not very good at hiding her relationship with Holden. Jennifer is then forced to blatantly lie to protect herself, even when it is damaging to others. She is also blackmailed into performing an act that disgusts her.  There is a resolution to the issues, but it is a grim one. It is far more realistic than the mythical one of the two lovers running away together in the throes of intense love for each other. The happily ever after ending.
 Jake Gyllenhaal plays Holden and he is masterful as the intense, yet incredibly needy and not all that talented man of no means to do much of anything. Aniston is also superb as the woman in a dead-end job and life that wants and finds excitement, something to make her interested in living. In so many ways, Jennifer is a role model for clerks at department and convenience stores, stuck in a dead-end job, waiting for something exciting to happen to them. Even if it is almost impossible for the events to turn out positive.

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