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A much appreciated nuanced performance from Dreyfuss, one of Hollywood's least likely leading men. Very natural, engaging scenes all around.
Funny movie but masons and dreyfuss' constant bickering get on your nerves after while.
This is a film that's hard not to love. I was easily one over by the copious charms of the film as the witty Neil Simon screenplay, spirited performances and skillful direction make this one of the best romantic comedies of the 1970s. It's an utter delight watching this film for 110 minutes and at the end of it you will not only be uplifted but also satisfied by a piece of popular filmmaking that achieves exactly what it sets out to do in making you root for an improbable romance. Some may denigrate the film for being too light but I appreciate the fact that it commits to being a piece of breezy fun without being dumb or uninspired.
Retired dancer Paula McFadden, Marsha Mason, is unlucky in love as she has been betrayed by several men in her past including her most recent beau, actor Tony DeForrest. He abandons her and her young daughter Lucy, Quinn Cummings, and sublets their apartment to actor Elliot Garfield, Richard Dreyfuss, without their knowledge. After arguing Garfield and McFadden come to an agreement over ownership of the apartment and begin sharing it while forming a closer personal relationship. Their relationship is complicated by her reservations over falling in love with a man due to the betrayal in her past and his struggling career as an actor. When the two finally commit to another he begins to show signs of being similar to her former boyfriends but then assuages her concerns by proving his love for her.
The beauty of the film is that the two main characters feel in some ways like real people as their concerns are relatable and the complications in their relationship understandable. We have all met the sort of woman who falls in love a little too easily and gives all of herself to a man only to be let down by him and is awful to watch these hopeful, optimistic people become guarded and resistant to future suitors. This shift is set up well in the first scene of the film as we see McFadden ecstatically returning home with her daughter as she believes she will be going over seas with her boyfriend only to be met with the disappointment she has faced so many times before. Garfield is able to be optimistic about future relationships but he is nervous about his career and his stresses and the various rituals associated with doing his job, including meditating, turn the risible McFadden against him for a long time. When the two finally open up and reveal their vulnerabilities to one another we are so sympathetic to both of them that we want to see them rely on one another and find some relief in an equally struggling person.
The comedy in the film also works as Mason and Dreyfuss are quick witted and able to deliver snappy one liners with chutzpah. They are gifted with a wonderful screenplay from Paul Simon that understands how to balance romance, comedy and drama perfectly but they bring their own unique sensibilities to the performances. Dreyfuss has a manic energy that immediately convinces you that this is an arrogant, fast talking actor who might get on your nerves but who is also surprisingly sensitive and kind under that façade. His long monologues in which he teases Mason about her attraction to him are what you would describe as "cute" without a trace of sarcasm and some of his lines might cause you to burst out laughing. Mason is hilarious in the later scenes in the film when she gets to play nervous and overly attentive and in the final moments of the film she delivers the line "I love you!" with such bravado that it is hard not to respect her. I can see why both performers received recognition for their work and I believe that Dreyfuss earned his Academy Award.
Had this film been released in a year less stacked that 1977 which also brought us Annie Hall (1977), The Turning Point (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) I would have been incensed by the fact that it wasn't considered a serious contender for Best Picture despite being nominated.
Terrific classic that still holds up!
Very good romantic comedy even with all of Simon’s way overwritten cute dialog. Dreyfuss has one line that sums up why he won the Oscar, and why he did not deserve it as well. ‘Am I as adorable as I think I am?’. He’s in love with his own cutesieness and his own performance. In ‘77, we needed it and fell for it. But its pretty thin now. Mason and Quinn are also cute and over do.
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. This a a fabulous film .
Marsha Mason is known as "The Goodbye Girl" because of all the live-in boyfriends who have said ta-ta to her in the past few years. A former Broadway chorus dancer, the divorced Mason lives in the Manhattan apartment of her latest lost love with her daughter Quinn Cummings. Enter arrogant actor Richard Dreyfuss, who has subleased the apartment from Mason's former boyfriend and moves in bag and baggage in the middle of the night. Dreyfuss and Mason spend the next few weeks getting in each other's way and fighting like cats and dogs. The wind is taken out of Dreyfuss' sails when he opens in a production of Richard III, which has been sabotaged by the director (Paul Benjamin), who insists that Dreyfuss portrays Richard as a hip-swinging homosexual. The play closes after one performance, and the once-overconfident Dreyfuss goes on a self-pitying drunken binge. Touched by his vulnerability, Mason begins falling in love with Dreyfuss despite her lousy track record with men. Richard Dreyfuss became the youngest ever "Best Actor" Oscar winner as a result of his performance.
The best romcom movie ever made! With the best movie song ever sung: the title song!
Oh, okay, I see...so, Neil Simon was a genius. I get it now! Dreyfuss and Mason have an almost inexplicable amount of great chemistry and patter delivery, you believe every stage of their wide-ranging relationship. A wonderfully biting and incredibly sweet romantic comedy that is better than most every rom-com that it influenced.
7.9.18 on DVD w/Shawn
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.