The Good Girl (2002)



Critic Consensus: A dark dramedy with exceptional performances from Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal, The Good Girl is a moving and astute look at the passions of two troubled souls in a small town.

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Justine is thirty years old and works as a discount store clerk in Texas. Deeply unhappy in her marriage to a man who is infertile because of a dope-smoking habit, Justine soon begins an affair with Holden, the store's newly hired cashier and becomes pregnant. Holden, who has serious issues of his own, steals money from the store's safe for the two of them to run away, but the plan is short-lived when it takes a tragic turn for the worse.
R (for some language and drug content)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:


Mike White
as Corny
John Doe
as Mr. Worther
Roxanne Hart
as Mrs. Worther
Michael Hyatt
as Floberta
Jacquie Barnbrook
as Heavyset Woman
Annie O'Donnell
as Haggard Woman
Alice Amter
as Big Haired Woman
Jean Rhodes
as Old Woman
Lalo Guerrero
as Blackberry Vendor
Ken Rudulph
as Reporter
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News & Interviews for The Good Girl

Critic Reviews for The Good Girl

All Critics (156) | Top Critics (36)

A warmly satisfying comedy about dissatisfied people seeking to escape from the personal prison of their mundane lives in soulless suburbia.

Full Review… | March 30, 2009
Top Critic

I wish I could say I liked it more, but despite a smattering of priceless moments, The Good Girl gets bogged down in the very narrowness that afflicts Justine.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Once fans recover from the shock, they'll discover that this sitcom actress has the chops to tackle some pretty heavy stuff.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

It's soulful and unslick, and that's apparently just what [Aniston] has always needed to grow into a movie career.

August 22, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

An absorbing, slice-of-depression life that touches nerves and rings true.

August 21, 2002
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

White hasn't developed characters so much as caricatures, one-dimensional buffoons that get him a few laughs but nothing else.

Full Review… | August 21, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Good Girl


First they made "Chuck and Buck" (2000). Two years later, screenwriter Mike White and director Miguel Arteta collaborated on "The Good Girl." The highly original and piercing "Chuck and Buck" is by far the better film, but "The Good Girl" has its charms, particularly a beautiful performance from Jake Gyllenhaal as a lonely, mentally unstable college student who calls himself Holden (after the protagonist in "Catcher in the Rye"). Jennifer Aniston, in her first and last interesting film role, plays the main character, a depressed, uneducated store clerk who has an extra-marital affair with Holden that goes awry. She is married to a brainless couch potato played by John C. Reilly. As you'd expect from this filmmaking team, there's much dark humor and deadpan comedy about small-town life. At times the spirit of Todd Solondz is channelled. But nothing really surprising or compelling is ever discovered about the characters, and the comedy grows thin after a half-hour. The actors walk around in a catatonic stupor, going way over the top to dramatize their characters' stagnation and mindlessness. I'm not sure why it's interesting to depict everyone in the heartland as retarded. It certainly bears no relationship to the reality of the heartland, where there is a lot more diversity than that. After a while, it just seemed like easy jokes perpetrated by artists who weren't really challenging themselves. You could think of "Good Girl" as the last mumble-core movie. I'm quite glad that this sub-genre is pretty much dead.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer


I didn't like it. It was so derivative yet miserable, so cheerless yet faux-introspective. Sometimes there were these departures into fantasy and I didn't know what to think of them.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer


Jennifer Aniston impresses on this offbeat black comedy. Her low-pitched intensity evokes the seemingly demure Texan who secretly hates her life. The sausage-chain structure of short scenes makes the plot plod towards the end. But laugh-out-loud characters, like a sadistic make-up girl enhance a skillful portrait of a supposedly ordinary life.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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