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The Good Night
The Good Night
Actors: Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2008     1hr 33min

Penélope Cruz, Martin Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Danny DeVito co-star in this wry look at an obsessed man who will do anything to make his passion-filled dream life a reality. Gary Sheller (Freeman) is caught in a midli...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 3
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Italian
Subtitles: English, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Jerry S. from OCEANSIDE, CA
Reviewed on 6/29/2016...
W0W! Loved It!
Jeremy G.
Reviewed on 1/25/2011...
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Different and Great for It
Patrick S. Murphy | Perkasie, PA United States | 04/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Last reviewer didn't leave much of a review. This movie is different. Know that going into and be ok with it and you'll love it. There's nothin inherently BAD about this film unless you don't enjoy films that explore unique topics (such as lucid dreaming). It's the story of a man who yearns to escape from his dull life and the lack of faith and constant criticism from his girlfriend and best friend.

Very enjoyable film, and has an ending that leaves you feeling like you just watched something with a purpose and a meaning. I don't know, maybe it's a love it/hate it kind of a movie but I definitely loved it. Martin Freeman is a really great actor!"
Safely slumbering in a black padded room
nonlinearize | the third coast, usa | 04/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

The Good Night is about a man who seeks to cultivate in his dreams the life and love he doesn't know how to achieve in reality. To my knowledge, only one other film has been made with Lucid Dreaming as a subject, the excellent 2002 philosophical trip Waking Life. Lucid dreaming is essentially the ability to "wake up" while dreaming, to become aware of the fact that one is dreaming, and even to exert some control over dream content. There are a number of techniques, developed by ancient Buddhists and modern psychologists, which can be used to induce and prolong lucid dreams. Two of the most common tricks are featured in The Good Night, but neither one is intelligently portrayed or described at any length. A more insightful presentation of lucid dreaming would have made the film more engaging for me. Instead the subject is primarily used as a plot device.

As it is, The Good Night does do a number of things well. The film is populated by believable though unlikable characters who are adept at pointing out other people's faults, but incapable of acknowledging their own. Through consistent though casual attention to detail, the film excels at portraying the nuances of day-to-day life and conversation, and is laced with irony and subtle dark comedy. The Good Night shares much of its basic thematic structure with 2006's The Science of Sleep, but without the manic whimsical melancholy of that film. While some reviewers have said they thought it boring, I found The Good Night's darkly funny character drama to be pretty engaging. And although the slow rising emotional tone had little resonance, I continue to think about the film's suggestion that perhaps before awakening, some may have to fall more deeply asleep...

For those interested, good books about lucid dreaming include Jeff Warren's The Head Trip, Namkhai Norbu's Dream Yoga, Carlos Castaneda's The Art of Dreaming, Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying edited by F.J. Varela, and a range of titles by Stephen LaBerge.

Surrealist Dramedy Falls Way Short Due to a Muddy Execution
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 05/06/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"It's pretty obvious that first-time director/screenwriter Jake Paltrow was heavily inspired by Michel Gondry's surreal, off-kilter work in The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind in making this downbeat 2007 dramedy. Barely in theaters before heading right to DVD, the film works on an intriguing (albeit unoriginal) premise but is then undermined by a muddy execution and unlikable characters despite some nice visuals. The plot concerns put-upon Gary, a TV commercial jingle writer who was once an `80's Britpop star. His professional life has become a drudge as he begrudgingly works with his best pal and former bandmate Paul, who has sold his soul to become a successful advertising executive. Meanwhile, life at home is no picnic since Gary has to suffer from the constant passive-aggressive derision of his frumpy, needling girlfriend Dora.

Into this emotional void, Gary starts to have vivid dreams of a beautiful fantasy woman named Anna, who turns out to have a basis in reality. It's no wonder that Gary seeks the counsel of a "lucid dreaming" expert from New Jersey named Mel who helps him find ways to elongate the dreams for fear of having them evaporate entirely. Once all this is all established, Paltrow lets the film flail around in a series of frustrating scenes that have Gary turning more and more into an emotional zombie. Moreover, the marked contrast between Dora and Anna comes across as overstated with the result being complete indifference toward both women. Paltrow also uses a framing device of documentary-like testimonials from colleagues in Gary's past, a technique that doesn't make sense until the abrupt ending. None of the principal actors are terribly remarkable here except Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) who brings a much-needed energetic brio to the comically unsavory role of Paul. His cutting scenes with Gary are the best the movie offers.

As Gary, Martin Freeman (BBC's The Office, Breaking and Entering) is likeably dweeby at first, though he doesn't make credible his past as a debauched rock star. Danny DeVito merely plays a plot device in his customary matter and not much more as Mel. No matter how gorgeous she is (and she truly is in this film), Penélope Cruz is given short shrift by the script, so much so that her character remains incoherent and incomplete. But ironically, a worse fate befalls the filmmaker's famous sister Gwyneth, who has been so deglamorized as Dora as to render her character nearly unsalvageable. Granted there are some funny, off-the-cuff bits like Dora reacting to Gary's maniacal installation of foam over the bedroom windows by asking if it comes in white or Gary inexplicably reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Iraq in bed, but there isn't enough such cleverness to sustain the film. At 93 minutes, it actually feels overlong. The 2008 DVD provides a rather inchoate commentary from Jake Paltrow that is not very insightful."