The Goodbye Girl (1977) Poster

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I LOVE this movie
monkeyface_si7 July 2001
One of the best romantic comedies ever. Dreyfuss & Mason generate as much chemistry as I have ever seen on the screen from a couple that was never a couple. Quinn Cummings delivers one of the greatest child actress performance in cinema history -- always genuine and winning. The dialogue is witty and brittle. The direction never strikes a false note. And all the dualities of New York are well exploited. I simply LOVE this movie.
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My favourite film
datkins-311 May 2003
My favourite film of all time. Despite its academy awards at the time it remains largely unknown now which is sad. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you feel good. What more can you expect from a movie?
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Gives you a warm glow
datkins-324 October 2000
Simply my favourite movie of all time. First saw it with my fiancee (at the time) and it was her favourite also. We saw it 3 times. Whenever it is on TV I watch, and I have two video copies (in case one gets lost or spoiled!).

It stars Richard Dreyfuss at his best, and Marsha Mason and the "kid" are excellent too. Perhaps it is one of the best of films because it is able to make you laugh and cry, and sometimes at the same time. Neil Simon's writing is so comic and never allows the pathos to drown you. I believe it won a number of Oscars when first released yet almost no one I rave to about it has ever heard of it. Strange!

This film is very much under-appreciated. It is a wonderful tale of of family, of career, of relationships and of love. The rooftop scene is just fantastic and leaves a knot in my stomach every time I see it. A warm glow and a feeling of "this is how life should turn out". Great movie, great script. Fantastic.
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Another successful Simon "Odd Couple" story
theowinthrop12 February 2006
Neil Simon is consistent. He loves to use and reuse the "ODD COUPLE" plot with variations in one play or another: in the original ODD COUPLE, it's female version (shown in the early 1990s), the sequel film with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, the play (and movie) THE SUNSHINE BOYS - where the apartment is a lifelong comedy team partnership, and this one. Here it is Marcia Mason and her daughter, Quinn Cummings, who are always being deserted by Mason's husband or her series of boy-friends who usually are actors. Mason has become determined never again to trust or date an actor. But the apartment happens to be in the name of her last boyfriend, and he has made a subletting deal with out-of-town actor Richard Dreyfus. Dreyfus is determined to stay in the apartment while in New York (he is starring in a production within the city - off Broadway). He and Mason gradually agree to cease their hostilities and to share the apartment, but Mason finds Dreyfus weird: he is only eating special food, and he chants and plays the guitar at night. On the other hand Quinn Cummings finds he's not such a bad guy (he helps her when she has a headache, relaxing her to sleep).

The play that Dreyfus is appearing in the lead role in is Shakespeare's RICHARD III. It is being produced by Paul Benedict (a rare big part for that good comic actor), but his ideas about the production are upsetting Dreyfus. Dreyfus is approaching the role in the classical, "Olivier" form - the master, evil Machiavellian monarch. Machiavellian to be sure in Benedict's version, but also gay. As Benedict pushes it, it is the story of "the Queen who would be King". Dreyfus's performance of the play within the film, following Benedict's direction, is an everlasting comic joy.

The highs and lows of the two warring suite mates follows a romantic course, as they gradually fall in love with each other. Will this actor prove to be another one of those typically selfish actors that Mason resents, or will he prove to be different to her and Cummings - will he be the real love of her life?

A first rate comedy, and Dreyfus' Oscar - a well earned one.
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Totally unbelievable--but LOTS of fun!
preppy-318 February 2004
Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) and her 10 year old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings) are abandoned in NYC by her married boyfriend. He also sublets the apartment they share to a young actor, Eliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss). They agree to live together even though they hate each other. Naturally, they fall in love.

Totally predictable but I really enjoyed it! I loved in back in 1977 and I still love it now! Neil Simon's script is basically just a series of one liners--but they ARE funny and Dreyfuss, Mason and Cummings deliver them perfectly. They come fast and furious and the movie moves very quickly--it doesn't seem like it's 110 minutes long. Dreyfuss deservedly won the Best Actor Award for this film--he's 'on' non-stop and is full of energy and fun.

Mason was nominated for Best Actress and she's almost as good as Dreyfuss (she was a little too whiny for me). Cummings isn't that good--but she WAS only 10 when she did this. It's just that her character is one of those screen kids that talks and acts like an adult--I didn't think having her swear occasionally was cute or funny. Nonetheless she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The movie was also up for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. Also there's a GREAT title song written and performed by David Gates over the closing credits (it was also a big hit song back in '77). Also Nicol Williamson pops up (unbilled) in a short but VERY funny cameo.

The only debit--the romance scenes were corny (but they do work) and some of the dramatic scenes were TERRIBLY written (Simon was always better at doing comedy). And he has two thunderstorms pop up out of NOWHERE in this movie during a big romantic and dramatic scene. That was pushing it a little too much! Still the acting carries those scenes through and it's a minor complaint.

A sweet, very funny, enjoyable film. Just don't think about it TOO much. I give it a 9.
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A perfect a romantic comedy. Warm hearted, funny and well, just perfect!
donmac11720 April 2008
Two decades have passed since I first viewed "The Goodbye Girl". I can think of few films that hold up like this Neil Simon comedy. I read in a previous review that the plot is "unbelievable". Am I wrong in recalling that the writer admitted that he got the concept complete from the life of an actor? Just another case of reality possessing more truth than fiction. Richard Dreyfus and Marsha Mason should be added to that rare list of actors whose performances will forever define the characters they portrayed. Elliot Garfield and Paula McFadden belong to them in perpetuity. Played by Quinn Cummings, Lucy McFadden simply made the film work as a sophisticated child who never uttered one cloying word. Bless you Quinn, wherever your are. For someone who has been a friend of actors, and who has adored dancers, every situation in the film rang true. Previous reviews havecovered all the cinematic aspects, so I will just add my accolade: This is a film that rates with the best of Hollywood.
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It's OK, but not great
cynthiacher-14 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is sometimes amusing and contains some good acting by Richard Dreyfuss and Quinn Cummings, but it's also very annoying. Dreyfuss is good at doing this type of character but he also seems rather manic; he, Dreyfuss, is in fact bi-polar, which may account in part for this. Dreyfuss also had a rather serious problem with cocaine, and that too may in part account for his frenetic performance. Marsha Mason is totally irritating; no wonder all the men she gets involved with leave her! This movie derives part of its charm from the fact that the two romantic leads are not particularly young, attractive or likable, which is unusual for a romantic comedy. But that makes it harder for the view to feel sympathetic for the two; I quite frankly didn't give a hoot whether or not they got together or stayed together. And although the ending implies that Eliot is so smitten with Paula that he will never leave her, I tend to think that eventually he will get tired of this needy, immature woman. That little speech she gives him towards the end about how she's "grown up" doesn't ring one bit true, especially in light of what she does a little later, that is, standing out on the fire escape in the pouring rain in a sheer nightgown clutching his guitar and screaming "I LOVE YOU"! That kind of behavior you would expect from a lovesick teenager not a 33 year old woman who's "grown up". Overall I would say that this a rather silly diversion of a movie. And Dreyfuss did NOT deserve an Oscar for this. Richard Burton should have won that year.
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The Goodbye Girl
Coxer9921 April 1999
A gem of a picture with one of the most lovely endings I have ever seen. Dreyfuss is priceless as a die hard actor looking for his big break. Mason is wonderful as the women he has to share an apartment with, then fall in love with as well.

Simon's script melts with humor and heart from start to finish. It's one that gets better with every viewing.
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Where Did The Time Go?
DKosty1238 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It is starting to feel like another planet when you think about the time that has passed since Neil Simon was cranking out comedies like this one in the 1970's. What makes it feel longer is - Marsha Mason is 70 years old this year 2012 Richard Dreyfuss is 65 years old this year.

Their daughter who was a newcomer in this movie is 40 years old this year.

Dreyfuss won an Oscar for this one and deservedly so. His character is extremely energetic and in a time before it is fashionable has to play a gay King Richard.

As for Mason, she is delicious and bitchy all in moments.

Neil Simon is 85 this year and his last writing credit was in 2007. In the 1970's Simon was doing scripts like this, The Odd Couple and The Sun Shine Boys.

While the Goodbye Girl is not quite as well done as the others, this is still a pretty solid script for it's era. What seems strange is that this one just was shown on The Essentials on TCM. I am not used to having a movie that came out when I grew up being honored in that Saturday night slot. Still, it deserved the recognition.

We need films like this one to remind us people and movies are not perfect.
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A special edition DVD would be a blast
paul winnett4 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The greatest romantic comedy of all time, and you cannot even get a "Vanilla" DVD in the uk. This is a movie with a strange history. Originally started in 1976 by Mike Nichols, it was called "Bogart slept here" and starred Marsha Mason and Robert DeNiro.The great thespian is rumoured to of walked out of rehearsals after Mason said that he should respect Mike Nichols more. (Nichols had worked out that DeNiro could not "Do Joy".) No such problems for Dreyfuss. He is amazing as Elliot Garfield. The two leads capture each line to perfection, which is no mean feat as nearly every line in this movie is a gag. Even Quinn Cummings is that rare thing a child actor that does not make you reach for a revolver. Even the now dated Gay King Richard routine works still as it is done in such a sweet, good natured way. So many great lines (my personal favourite..... "Capital P, Capital U, capital TRID") The final shots of Mason are an echo of the final shots of (the vastly overrated) "Breakfast at Tiffanys". Also this is one of those rare Romances that men enjoy, possibly because Dreyfuss is not exactly George Clooney, is an incredible smart arse throughout. and unlike someone like Hugh Grant actually knows when to put the "moves" on (so to speak) Hope for all average looking guys everywhere. A Brilliant, Brilliant movie. Please can we have a DVD release with whistle and bells please Rastar and Sony.
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Great Movie
jmorrison-224 July 2002
I don't normally go in for Romantic comedies too much, but this was a very entertaining movie.

Dreyfus is just mesmerizing and hilarious, and Marsha Mason was very good. A very enjoyable, uplifting movie.
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Marsha Mason Does Helen Trent ***1/2
edwagreen9 January 2006
Poor Marsha Marson. All of her relationships end in failure. The guy simply walks out. She has a precocious daughter, devilishly played by Quinn Cummings. The latter received a supporting actress nomination and faded from the movie scene real fast. Where are you Quinn darling?

Forced to share an apartment with a stranger, Mason may finally be on the right track. Richard Dreyfuss is that man and in a surprise Oscar winning performance (Richard Burton was also up for Equus that year), he is perfect in the role as the charmer.

By movie's end Dreyfuss has to go off to somewhere but unlike the other men in her life, will return. How do we know he is coming back? Just see this delightful film and find out.
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New romantic comedies haven't got a hope...
messynessie8 November 2003
If they think they can compete with the likes of The Goodbye Girl. It's definitely the best of it's genre, and I don't know why more people haven't seen it. The acting is superb, the jokes are (mostly) hilarious, however many times you see the film, and I have so many favourite scenes I could probably tell you the whole movie.Richard Dreyfuss is excellent as Elliott, the wet stranger that arrives at Paula's apartment, and Quinn Cummings (Lucy) is a perfect example of a 10 year old girl. For once, it's a film that isn't totally predictable and doesn't end with a kiss!
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She'd scare any sane man away...
moonspinner5519 November 2006
Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss exudes lots of kooky, ego-fed charisma and has energy to spare in "The Goodbye Girl" but there's nothing here to keep his character together with Marsha Mason's--except a few plot contrivances. Mason plays a single mom trying to find work as a dancer on Broadway, Dreyfuss is a burgeoning stage actor who has been promised her apartment. They pick at each other until one night he kisses her and that seems to change nearly everything between them. Once their romance begins, almost every scene thereafter is a bummer. Mason harps on redoing her apartment ("Go be a movie star," she tells Dreyfuss, "I'll be here hanging up my wallpaper."). What is her irrational need to find a man and set up house? It's more important to her than finding work. Mason looks smashing in a pixie cut that accentuates her big gummy smile, but her character's insecure, moody behavior is enough to drive any reasonably sane man away. Thank goodness for daughter Quinn Cummings' smart mouth, Dreyfuss may never return. **1/2 from ****
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painful to watch
oldmovieman2 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Such a predictable plot. Very strange boy with heart of gold meets bitter neurotic girl with cutesy 10 year old adult daughter. It's hate at first sight, followed by love, followed by hate, followed by love. The end.

Such annoying characters. Marsha Mason's single mom is so unpleasant and unstable that it's hard to imagine any man wanting to have a romantic relationship with her. Dreyfuss's character is written to make him a real weirdo, though as the movie progresses all the weird character traits disappear. (For example, he's portrayed early on as a health freak and very particular about what he eats; later, he's eating spaghetti and drinking cheap wine, and I think pizza appears in a later scene.) The 10 year old daughter/adult spouting Neil Simon one-liners is painful.

Only saving grace -- the "B" plot with an unwilling Dreyfuss forced to play Richard III as a flaming gay at the direction of crazed director Paul Benedict. Watching Dreyfuss mince and lisp his way through some of the great scenes in Richard III is enough to give this dreadful movie a 3.
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What a heart warming and touching film!
popsy21uk11 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This has to be one of my very favourite films. With such a wonderful cast it's no wonder that Neil Simon's script came alive. With Richard Dreyfuss (who won an Oscar for this role), Marsha Mason and Quinn Cummings as Paula's fabulous young daughter they make this a pleasure to watch. The one liners in this will split your sides as Simon's is on top form. I have seen this movie an obscene amount of times we are talking double figures! It still brings me to the edge of my seat when Paula (Marsha Mason) gets that call from Elliot (Richard Dreyfuss) asking her to go with him and her wonderfully joyful and tear jerking (well that might just be me) reply. Right I'm off to watch it again!
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Instant classic
jbels3 June 2003
This is a comedy they will be watching with endearment years and years from now. Holds up with beautifully paced performances from the three leads and really captures a time when movies could be fun just for fun's sake (along with Tootsie). The kind of movie you could watch, hit rewind, and watch immediately again.
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One of my all-time favorite films
FilmCritic-322 January 2000
Aside from Arthur and The American President, this movie is one of my all-time favorite films. Neil Simon wrote a perfect script that really brings out the best in this film. After her boyfriend deserts her, Paul McFadden (Played to perfection by Marsha Mason) is devastated and spends the first few minutes crying over it. In the middle of the night, a mysterious stranger comes along and claims that her boyfriend sublet the apartment to him. This stranger is played by Academy-Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss as Elliot Garfield, a struggling actor who is frustrated most of the time over Paula's antics. Let me tell you something. Richard Dreyfuss's Oscar for this film was well-deserved. The way he acted out this role was silly as well as serious. Finally, the last player we have in this film is Paula's daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings). I have never seen such a impressive performance by a child. Lucy almost seems like she is grown up in this film.

Although it takes a long while before they eventually fall in love, the path the movie takes is enough to keep you smiling.

RENT THIS ONE!! Do not wait. This is a film I highly recommend.
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Excellent Neil Simon Film
whpratt128 February 2008
It was great viewing this great comedy about a divorced dancer, Paula McFadden, (Marsha Mason) who lives in New York with her young daughter, Lucy MacFadden, (Quinn Cummings) and they are both trying to get over the divorce which greatly upset the family. Paula's ex-husband moved to California and at the same time he leased out Paula's apartment to a new tenant. It just so happens that Elliot Garfield, (Richard Dreyfuss) is an actor who has paid $600.00 to lease this apartment and this is when Paula and Elliot get into a major problem with trying to get along with him living with her and the daughter. This is a very cute and romantic story which is a great comedy by a great director, Neil Simon who was in real life married at the time to Marsha Mason. Richard Dreyfuss won an Academy Award for this film and also starred in the famous film "Jaws". Enjoy
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A Winning Romantic Comedy from Neil Simon
evanston_dad18 September 2007
1977 was apparently the year for neurotic romantic comedies featuring people who look like real people, if "The Goodbye Girl" and "Annie Hall" are anything to go by. Woody Allen's film is obviously the superior of the two, but I have a soft spot for Neil Simon's comedy, and I like it quite a lot.

Richard Dreyfuss was on the cusp of stardom after his performance in "Jaws," and his double score this year with "The Goodbye Girl" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" launched him into the big time. Marsha Mason was perfect at playing roles like this -- vulnerable softies looking for love while at the same time tough cookies who could make it on their own if forced to. In this film, the two meet cute when Dreyfuss shows up at Mason's apartment, having subletted it from Mason's boyfriend, who dumped her and took off without telling her that she and her ten-year-old daughter would be left with no place to live. Dreyfuss, a struggling actor, agrees to let the mom and daughter stay in the apartment with him, and of course after much bickering, the two fall in love. The movie is at its best when Dreyfuss and Mason are fighting. My favorite line is delivered by Mason after one of their many run-ins over Dreyfuss's bohemian living habits: "I don't know you well enough to truly dislike you, but you are just too weird to live with."

Quinn Cummings gives an adorable performance as Mason's daughter. She manages to be both precocious and cute (think Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon"), a tough feat for a child actor. In one of the first scenes, while Mason is reading the dear john letter left by her louse of a boyfriend, who's left to star in a Bertolucci film, Cummings, instead of asking questions about what happened between her mom and boyfriend, or what they're going to do, or any other number of things it would make sense for a child to ask about, wants to know instead who Bertolucci is and what movies he's directed. A kid after my own heart.

Grade: A
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How the heck did I ever miss this one?
The_Core7 March 2007
One of the best films I've seen in a long, long time. I recently came across "The Goodbye Girl" on cable (On-Demand) and noticed all the awards it won. I was around in 1977 but was a younger teenager... still, you'd think I would have seen this film by now. The acting was incredible, enormous energy invested by all concerned... script was awesome.

I'm not usually that big on love stories, but this one was so entertaining and simultaneously touching that I found myself looking up after two hours, feeling like five minutes had just gone by. An easy classic, 10/10.
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My brief review of the film
sol-7 July 2005
In many aspects a rather ordinarily made film, it is nevertheless revived by quality acting, a few funny moments and some rather witty lines. That is not to say that it is a very well written film, as the story is drone, lame and predictable. Richard Dreyfuss, who won the Oscar for his very charismatic performance is great though, and Quinn Cummings as the daughter has some fine moments too. Marsha Mason's acting lacks in charm, but the other two main performances compensate. There is a bit of insight into the acting business too, but this is not too great a film overall. However, it is certainly well acted and witty at times, bringing it well above par.
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One of my faves
Glassix17 January 2004
This is one of those movies that always makes me cry at the end. Richard Dreyfuss is hysterical giving one of the best performances. You can't help but love him. I think all independent women can relate to this movie not wanting to depend on a man but just wanting someone to be with and care for. I guess eventually she finally found him.
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Richard Dreyfyss vs. John Travolta
Lee Eisenberg20 December 2016
By 1977, Richard Dreyfuss was a well established actor, having appeared in "American Graffiti", "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" and "Jaws". That year he appeared in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "The Goodbye Girl", winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for the latter.

Probably the most notable role that year was John Travolta's turn as a working-class youth who dances to disco music in "Saturday Night Fever", one of the most iconic movies of the decade. By contrast, barely anyone remembers "The Goodbye Girl". On the other hand, Richard Dreyfuss is the better actor (more importantly, he frequently addresses political issues, while John Travolta is now more known for Scientology than for his movie roles). Are Academy Award nominations meant to address roles or individuals?

Whatever the case, this movie - the first that Neil Simon wrote directly for the screen - is worth seeing. I actually liked Marsha Mason's role more than Richard Dreyfuss's. I'd call her one of the most underrated actresses. Overall, it's an OK movie, not a masterpiece.
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A Fun Dreyfuss Character
gavin69424 January 2016
After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, an unemployed dancer (Marsha Mason) and her 10-year-old daughter are reluctantly forced to live with a struggling off-Broadway actor (Richard Dreyfuss).

This is Richard Dreyfuss at perhaps his most offbeat. Sure, Marsha Mason plays the lead and the film is called "the goodbye girl", but I think the movie passes or fails with Dreyfuss. For me, it passes, as he is strangely interesting and fun to watch.

The film as a whole is not that amazing. It seems to have secured a few Oscar nominations but few wins. Today (2016), it is not one that most people have heard of. Heck, even Mason is not a household name. Worth a look, but not essential.
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