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October 2007

By Nicole Schmuelian



Distributor: Yari Film Group
Director: Jake Paltrow
Screenwriter: Jake Paltrow
Cast: Martin Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Simon Pegg, Penélope Cruz, Danny DeVito, Michael Gambon, Amber Sealey, Keith Allen, Finty Williams



Gary (Martin Freeman) has lost his ambition, once a part of a notable band but now writes scores for commercials. He’s unsatisfied with his job and unhappy with his wife at home Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is unsupportive and quick to point out his shortcomings. It is in his dreams where he is all the things he is not in reality, and it is there where he meets Anna (Penelope Cruz), an exotic women who gives him confidence and love. He becomes obsessed with sleeping because it is only in his dreams he feels satisfaction and fulfillment. In “The Good Night”, Gary tries to figure out ways to have uninterrupted dreams, but he is constantly woken up. Finally, by the end of the film Gary is granted the opportunity to dream forever. The film becomes blurred between reality and illusion, and it takes too much effort on the audience’s part to decipher what is real and what is not.

Unfortunately, there was nothing compelling about the film, which is very disappointing because Gwyneth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz and Danny DeVito are three talented actors. I could have named at least ten things I would have rather been doing then watching the film. Martin Freeman is neither interesting nor provoking to be the central figure of the film. However, he cannot take all the criticism. This is Jake Paltrow’s debut film which he wrote and directed.  The plot, the dialogue, the way the story unfolded was of no intrigue. The characters felt disconnected from each other and from the audience.  Yes, of course Jake Paltrow wanted to convey how Gary and Dora's marriage was falling into pieces, but you don't even get a sense that they were once in love or happy. But this should not be a discouragement to Jake considering it was his first film. However, I was expecting more considering he comes from a very talented family.

Comparable to Gary being a mediocre musician the film was mediocre on many levels. The concept was interesting but it was powerless and boring. For such a stellar cast who posses so much presence on screen the film fell flat. It was rather stiff and lacked fluidity in its story line.