The Goodbye Girl - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Goodbye Girl Reviews

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April 17, 2018
Herbert Ross's The Goodbye Girl (1977), starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason demonstrate the sparks that fly when two opposite adults find themselves sharing the same two-bedroom apartment in New York City. After being swindled by the same narcissistic actor, Elliot (Dreyfuss) and Paula (Mason) find themselves stuck with the same apartment, along with Paula's daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings). Despite having starkly different personalities, these two must find a way to overcome their own personal obstacles and peacefully coexist.
This film is in conversation with other romantic comedies such as Definitely Maybe. Each of these films demonstrate a unique family relationship between parent and daughter as the parent navigates a complicated romantic life. Also, these films paint a picture of a single parent lifestyle in the big city.
A striking quality of this film is the beautiful cinematography showcasing New York City in the fall. This begins with the opening shot in which New York City is reflected in a spinning, dreamlike state off of the windshield of a bus. Furthermore, the fantastic aesthetic quality of the film, such as the apartment draped in tapestries and covered with various potted plants, transports the viewer back to the style of the seventies.
While all the performances in this film are compelling, they are overshadowed by the Oscar Winning performance from Richard Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss manages to strike a balance between oddball behavior and becoming a symbol of attraction. His quirkiness and enthusiasm make for romantic comedy lead unlike any film before it. His performance is overwhelmingly endearing and forces the audience to fall in love with his truly unique character.
Another important aspect of this film is that it acts as an homage to New York City. Not only does it highlight its beauty through its masterful cinematography, but it shows its spirit of ambition and artistry through Elliot and Paula's stage career. Lastly it speaks to the unique strength and witty nature of children raised in the city, as demonstrated through the precocious Lucy.
Despite being made in 1977, this film resonates with audiences of today. Not only are the characters timelessly endearing, but the problems are still relevant today, perhaps more than ever. For example, the challenges of Paula navigating her unique family structure is pertinent today when the nuclear family becomes less and less standard. Additionally, the narrative of the film stems from a problem that may never go away; the difficulty of finding a decent apartment in the city.
November 2, 2017
I've always been fond of Neil Simon's writing, because he has a flair for injecting comedy into otherwise mundane stories. It especially works when those great words are put into the mouth of someone like Richard Dreyfuss. He is the magic that makes The Goodbye Girl such an enjoyable film to watch. I love when Dreyfuss is in full comedy mode and he's cracking jokes, but he also excels when he is going for the romantic scenes. Marsha Mason is not bad as the other lead, although in another movie I would probably find her performance to be a bit grating on my nerves. She does nag and whine more than I would like, but it fits with her character and what she has gone through. The mix of comedy and romance seems to be in equal measure in this movie, and it never falls into what I would call traditional Hollywood cheesiness. It's a very simple story of two people who are thrust together through circumstances out of their control, who hate one another at first, and eventually develop that into love. Meanwhile they are both struggling in their careers, and with taking care of a little girl. It doesn't have much nuance, and doesn't keep you guessing what will happen. However, I don't mind when movies are simple, straightforward, and predictable when they make me feel so good. I get a nice warm and fuzzy feeling from watching The Goodbye Girl, and thanks to a great writer and a great actor it is elevated above lame TV movies that attempt the same thing.
½ August 13, 2017
The technical aspects are nothing to write home about, the story is of course cliched and predictable and Marsha Mason is unlikable in The Goodbye Girl, but Richard Dreyfuss is great and very likable in such a charming role. And the movie itself is often very pleasant and sweetly romantic leading to a solid and better than average romantic comedy.
June 11, 2017
Long time favorite film - fantastic performances all the way around! Always makes me cry happy tears.
May 8, 2017
I have seen this movie over 30 times and would still watch it again right now. It is a charming film that never gets old.
½ July 24, 2016
Very funny and well acted overall, by Dreyfuss and the kid especially. It got a little too dorky and cheesy at the end though but I enjoyed it.
Super Reviewer
October 31, 2015
Herbert Ross's wonderfully warm gem of a romantic comedy with an brilliantly funny Academy Award nominated original screenplay by Neil Simon. It concerns a young out-of-town actor named Elliot Garfield, magnificently played by Richard Dreyfuss, in a charismatic tour-de-force comic performance that earned the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Actor, and a dumped-on divorcee Paula McFadden, played sensationally by the lovely Marsha Mason, in an Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe Award winning performance for Best Actress, and her ten-year-old years daughter Lucy, superbly played by the scene-stealing Quinn Cummings, in a truly impressive screen debut that earned her an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, who are forced together as unwilling tenants of the same New York City apartment, slowly their growing relationship leads to them falling in love. Astute direction by the late Ross, with an amusing performance by the late character actor Paul Benedict, as Elliot's off-the wall director of his theatrical play, Simon's touching script is filled with such awesome wit and good humor from start to finish. A hilarious and uplifting 70s cinematic classic. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Highly Recommended.
½ June 18, 2015
Richard Dreyfuss is as charismatic and electrifying as ever (Quinn Cummings is also a knock-out with her sly remarks) in this intelligent and heart-melting comedy about hard times, life as an actor, and true love.
½ December 13, 2014
After all these years this movie really comes up short.
September 1, 2014
This is a lovely and hilarious film. I wish more rom com writers these days would watch this movie and take notes. If it weren't for Diane Keaton's amazing performance in Annie Hall, I would have wanted Marsha Mason to have won the Oscar she was outstanding. The little girl was excellent, Richard Dreyfus was excellent, everything about this movie is excellent
½ February 22, 2014
Onr of my all time favorite movies!
February 9, 2014
An all-you-can-know-the-plot movie, but the leading cast just shines and makes me fall in love with it. Don't miss the song at the very end!
January 10, 2014
Comedic Masterpiece. I couldn't watch this enough times if I lived to be 100. Just bury me with it. Gotta take this one with me.
January 5, 2014
a great feel good movie
October 18, 2013
One of my favorite romantic movies of the 19th century, or ever. It is not your normal sappy romantic movie, it has wit, character, amazing acting by both parts. I just love this movie. It's in my top 10. It may seem outdated but a lot of the lessons in this movie are still relevant today. I just can't say enough about the goodbye girl.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2013
Not entirely my kettle of fish although I appreciate Dreyfuss and Mason's performances. I prefer other depictions of Broadway but this is nonetheless a well polished film.
September 1, 2013
I love the "Goodbye Girl"!
August 11, 2013
The definitive romantic comedy!
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