‘The Good Night’ movie review: a dreamy debut from Jake Paltrow

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Debut feature from director Jake Paltrow, The Good Night is not without flaws but excels as a rare intelligent and realistic comedy-drama.

Gary (Martin Freeman), a dour British musician living in New York and stuck in an unsatisfying relationship with Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow), begins to dream of his, well, dream girl, personified by Anna (Penélope Cruz).

Happier in dreams than reality, Gary begins to explore the possibilities of controlling his dreams with the help of low-rent dream therapist Danny DeVito.

When he eventually meets Anna, the real-life representation of the girl in his dreams, she can only disappoint him; he soon retreats to his dreams, where he has more control.

The fascination with dreams recalls the work of Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry, while comedy-drama structure and dialogue borders on Woody Allen territory; none of it is fully explored or realized, but enough of the film entertains and tickles the mind to provide a worthwhile experience.

Direction is surprisingly assured for a first-timer, though the inevitable ending doesn´t come as a surprise.

Cast is good, with Freeman channeling Dudley Moore as the everyman lead; DeVito has a lot of fun as the dream therapist (his best role in recent memory), and Simon Pegg is a standout as Gary´s wisecracking, sleazy friend.

Major flaw: Gwyneth Paltrow´s argumentative Dora, who comes off as thoroughly unlikable though late plot developments suggest that perhaps shouldn´t have been the case. Excellent original score by Alec Puro.

The Good Night

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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