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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


Sandra Dunmore (Patricia Arquette) is married to Jake (Dermot Mulroney) a struggling alcoholic ad executive, but is conducting a steamy illicit affair with his far more successful brother Ben (Don Johnson). Ben however feels smothered by Sandra’s seemingly insatiable desires and soon finds himself attracted to a shy secretary Peggy (Mary Louise Parker). But Sandra has other plans for Ben, involving Jake and a sizeable insurance policy. When a body is found, hard-nosed police investigator Sgt. Rita Pompano (Ellen Degeneres) starts asking some tricky questions.

Review by David Edwards:
"Roland Joffe’s latest feature doffs its hat in the direction of Billy Wilder’s superb Double Indemnity. Unfortunately, Goodbye Lover tends to be a little too smart for its own good, and the problem lies in the script. Cross, double cross and triple-cross are piled upon each other; but they’re either telegraphed so far in advance they lose their impact, or they’ve come from so far out of left field, they’re incongruous. This may be the product of having at least three scriptwriters involved in the project. OK, criticism over - now for the good parts; and there are plenty of things to like about Goodbye Lover. It’s directed with flair by Joffe, who brings an acerbic eye to material that’s, for the most part, played for laughs. Thankfully, it never descends into complete farce as some recent "comedy/noir" films have done. The gifted cast brings a certain class to the proceedings, especially the women. Patricia Arquette is worth the price of admission alone as Sandra, the most bitingly amoral anti-heroine since Linda Fiorentino’s Bridget in The Last Seduction. Ellen Degeneres steals the second half of the film as the formidable, wisecracking detective; and Mary Louise Parker has her moments as the secretary who may be more than she appears. In this company, mere males don’t stand a chance, as several characters find out to their cost. Goodbye Lover is a "guilty pleasures" kind of film. It’s B-picture material, muddled in parts and with plot holes the size of Texas; but done in such an entertainingly trashy way, you may just find you’re laughing and wincing along despite yourself."

Review by Crissa-Jean Chappell:
"Goodbye Lover’s pop culture fixation brings Fargo to mind - minus its funny bone. Joe Cohen (but not Joel of Fargo fame) wrote Goodbye Lover with Ron Peer and Alec Sokolow (writers who heavily depend on plot-inducing formulas and cardboard characters). Alone, Cohen might’ve concocted a brighter script with philosophical musings on the absurdity of this bad world. While Fargo’s stoical community represented blind hope in the bleakest winter (to such a degree it seems comic), Goodbye Lover’s industrial wasteland—with its wealthy real-estate agents, besuited businessmen, slick ad execs and copywriters—promises the proverbial 'happy ending' but never fulfills it. These are meaningless promises, modelled with the aggressive optimism of a Rogers and Hammerstein musical. The cast seems lost in a script without rules. Arquette doesn’t have a clue whether to present Sandra as sympathetic or cartoony. She tries both tactics and falls twice as hard. Even cinematographer Dane Spinotti can’t save his new flop, with its shoddy, B-rated atmosphere and inexplicably odd camera angles. As with the script, there’s little logic to his choices. They exist for superficial reasons (it looks 'cool') or because there’s nothing that can save a script without character development or a convincing storyline.... and an underlining theme that life is meaningless. Yes, we know it isn’t always beautiful. The world is disappointing. In the movies, we expect more."

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CAST: Patricia Arquette, Dermot Mulroney, Ellen DeGeneres, Mary-Louise Parker, Don Johnson, Ray McKinnon, Alex Rocco, Andre Gregory, John Neville

PRODUCERS: Alexandra Milchan, Patrick McDarrah, Joel Roodman, Chris Daniel

DIRECTOR: Roland Joffe

SCRIPT: Ron Peer, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow (story by Peer)


EDITOR: William Steinkamp

MUSIC: John Ottman


RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes



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