The Good Night - Movie Review


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The Good Night

I'm willing to admit that The Good Night might have its share of problems and for many, it may not actually be much good at all. The film is marred by the fact that its thematic elements (primarily dealing with the ideal reality of dreams clashing with the reality of relationships and the working world) follow very closely in the footsteps of Brazil and the Science of Sleep, films that are quite simply, some of my most favorite films of all time (even if they didn't have the Cloverfield monster). Then again, those movies also had their quirks and, even if they were charming, their own flaws (aka: lacking in the Cloverfield monster). Saying The Good Night isn't on par as other films running in the same genre is like saying a film with spaceships is bad because it isn't Star Wars. This film has a lot of great ideas, is charming, serious, and at times quite funny. All in all, The Good Night deserves a chance to be viewed, and considering that I found it in a discount bin at Big Lots two days ago, that chance hasn't been provided.

The Good Night revolves around Gary (performed excellently by Martin Freeman, or more commonly referred to by me as "that guy from the British Office"), who is entering middle-aged life with an emotionally distant girlfriend (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) and a musical career in commercial jingles that is slightly less glamorous than his former rock-star days in Great Britain. One night he is visited by the girl of his dreams, who is, of course, Penelope Cruise, a vision who apparently makes the rounds in male psyches on her spare time after appearing in Vanilla Sky. Gary of course is smitten and takes to learning the nuances of lucid dreaming with lessons from Danny DeVito.

The cast is sprawling with talented individuals who inject personality and passion into the characters. On paper however, the relationships between the characters leaves something to be desired. The audience is never fully clued into who we're exactly rooting for our hero to end up with, or more importantly, who the hero wants to end up with. The girlfriend is too absent and too distant to give us adequate reason to believe Gary has something to hold on to, and if he at one point did have something to hold on to it's not shown in a tangible way. Fantasy is the only place where the audience is given a hint at romance, and its sudden appearance is more confusing than it is immersing or satisfying.

It's not hard for anyone aware of films in the similar vein as this one to know what's in store for Gary. Maybe I've just become accustomed to similar conclusions, but the end of The Good Night didn't contain the same air of frustration as some other films that I have seen, where the resolution feels either cheap or fails to resolve anything at all. Here the ending remains neither hopeful nor tragic, just confident in the good will of its characters. The notion of turning from one fantasy to another as being an ethically correct, and emotionally satisfying choice is something that I found refreshing, redeeming, and different. The more I think about it, the more I really enjoyed The Good Night, which is often the best kind of review I can give.

Under its calm surface The Good Night contains some truly haunting moments. Its pace and style slowly ebb the viewer into a state which may cause drowsiness, which I like. All in all, I recommend The Good Night, and I hope that if you find it lurking on a dusty shelf you pick it up and give it a try.

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