The Good Girl

Mrs. Brad Pitt truly struts her acting stuff in Miguel Arteta's latest Sundance favourite, The Good Girl. The pairing of director Arteta with producer Matthew Greenfield meshes well: their other premieres at Sundance were hits-Star Maps (1997), and Chuck & Buck (2001). Add Mike White as screenwriter (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl) to this trademark collaboration and the result bodes well.

Jennifer Aniston departs from her usual standard fluff to portray Justine Last, a 30-year-old Texas housewife trapped in a tedious cashier job at the local Retail Rodeo, living with her cul-de-sac, potsmoking husband Phil (John C. Reilly), who shares TV-glued space o­n their living room couch with his insipid buddy, Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson). Justine's dilemma is worsened because she is more curious and intelligent than everyone around her. Enough to drive anyone into adultery, Justine seizes her chance with the new, brooding and bookish cashier Holden Worther (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has renamed himself after his literary obsession, Holden Caulfield, from The Catcher in the Rye. Their passionate romance doesn't rescue her from the abyss of ennui as Holden comes replete with an inventory of adolescent problems.

To the filmmaking team's credit, The Good Girl never compromises with a feelgood ending, but lets the audience derive its own answers with touching, funny, and above all, human characters who (through their own choice or not) remain caught up in the quiet desperation of small-town life.

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