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Justine (Jennifer Aniston) is trying to get pregnant to her XL size house painter husband, Phil (John C. Reilly), whose constant companion and painting mate is Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson). She works at the local supermarket, where she begins an affair with an intense, withdrawn, romantic, younger man, Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has taken the name of his current literary hero from the book he reads - Catcher in the Rye. The affair gets as intense as Holden, and triggers major changes in all their lives.

Review by Louise Keller:
Moving, insightful and thoroughly entertaining, The Good Girl takes us to the crossroads of the human heart. The question is which way to turn. It’s a piercing and poignant story about love, perceptions and how one thing just leads to another. We meet Justine at a time that her view of the world has jaded – it has changed from being the giant candy store that it was, to becoming a prison. She is a lost soul, tired of coming home each night from her boring day at Retail Rodeo, to a stoned husband and his workmate. In Holden (the name he calls himself, from Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye; Tom is his ‘slave’ name), Justine finds a disturbed human being who is as dissatisfied as she is, but for different reasons. ‘We get each other’ is how Holden describes their relationship. 

The drama unfolds as inevitably as the unravelling of a ball of wool, the story’s power emanating from the characters’ dynamics of the characters. It’s a well written script and the characters are beautifully brought to life by a wonderful cast. A dream role for Jennifer Aniston, allowing her to put her tv sitcom image on the shelf and put her dramatic talents to good use. Jake Gyllenhall is riveting as the troubled Holden, bringing with him the kind of tragic intensity Robert Downey Jnr delivers so well. I especially enjoyed John C. Reilly’s Phil, who is also trying to escape from reality, and Tim Blake Nelson’s leering Bubba. 

The interesting thing is that each of the four central characters is disillusioned with life and Holden becomes the catalyst for change for each of them. It’s a great ensemble cast and the characters we get to know at Retail Rodeo (from the hypocritical bible-class advocate to the sales assistant with the uncontrollable mouth) add a wonderfully diverse texture. 

Published October 22, 2003

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CAST: Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, Tim Blake Nelson, Deborah Rush, Mike White, John Carroll Lynch

DIRECTOR: Miguel Arteta

SCRIPT: Mike White

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16 : 9 widescreen


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: October 22, 2003

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