Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family.
Former British pop star Gary Shaller is at a crossroads in his life: his job in New York City is going nowhere, his American wife, Dora, drives him crazy, and he passed his thirtieth birthday four years ago. Add to that his best friend Paul seems to become more successful every time he breathes. Gary is feeling depressed and dejected... until he meets Anna. She's glamorous and smart; she's seductive and witty. Best of all, she's crazy about Gary. Anna is the girl of Gary's dreams...literally. And that's the problem. Gary can only see Anna in his dream life, so he's got to find a way to carry on the most satisfying relationship of his life, in his dreams. His quest for lucid dreaming techniques introduces Gary to some crazy characters who ultimately give him a new perspective on life. Written by
Sometimes I wish that you could just hit the sack and never wake up. If your favorite song never ended, or your best book never closed, if the emotions mustered from these things would just go on and on, who wouldn't want to stay asleep? The guy who discovers that perpetual dream, he's my man.
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There's something about dreams that requires relaxation and patience. They have a certain fluidity about them that if they're hurried or rushed they just aren't as effective. As is fitting for a film about dreams, "The Good Night" works because of good acting and gentle pacing. The result is one of those good old fashioned dark comedies that walks the line between drama and dark humor.
Martin Freeman is one of these actors that takes grips on the "average guy" role and has as much fun as he can with it. As Gary, the band member turned commercial music composer, he is effective in demonstrating his lack of joy in his current relationship with Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow) and sinking into obsessive dreams about the make believe Anna (Penelope Cruz). Freeman is always a good lead because no matter what he does, he's likable and we're always rooting him on, even as Dora calls him a jerk and she's probably right at one point.
But a lot of the humor in the film comes from the supporting players. Simon Pegg is always a no brainer for comedy because of his spot on delivery. As Gary's friend and boss, Paul, he jumps into the role of the somewhat amoral friend with his own relationship problems. However, he does still listen to Gary and even takes joy in some of his obsessiveness.
Then there's Danny Devito, playing the typical Danny Devito character as he hosts a dream support group but works odd jobs and hasn't had a relationship of his own for over 40 years. Despite all this, he still hears Gary out and Gary takes a lot of his advice. Devito has a lot of good one liners and a very funny introduction scene.
As to the movie as a whole, it's good but not great. Definitely worth a look. Part of me saw this as a dark comedy going through the motions and becoming very predictable as we got closer to the end. The premise was very fresh though and director Jake Paltrow really seizes the opportunity of capturing the dreamlike quality of some of the scenes. The performances and well paced direction really glue the movie together though, and at 90 minutes, it's not a bad movie to give a watch.
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