Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Actress 1977: Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl

Marsha Mason received her 2nd oscar nomination forf playing Paula in The Goodbye Girl. Paula lives with her 10-year old daughter ( Quinn Cummings), and has just been walked out on by her boyfriend. She is so depressed, and frustrated with her life, and before she knows it, an actor by the name of Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss)knocks on the door, telling her that her ex-boyfriend rented the apartment to him. Given that she has no choice in the matter and that he has the decency not to call a lawyer, they both compromise, deciding to share the apartment. It's unbearable at first, but sooner or later, they begin to fall in love.

In the beginning, Marsha Mason does a fantastic job: She's believable, funny, and loveable. She could have made this character stale and boring like all the other roles like this, but instead she chooses to play Paula in a tougher, stronger way that makes the performance so strong. Both she and Richard Dreyfuss have brilliant chemistry, they never make one wrong move in making they're relationship believable. But there are problems in her performance, that is both her fault and the films. Marsha Mason is engaging, funny, and completely enjoyable in the first half while Richard Dreyfuss is alright, but annoying and over the top. But as they start falling for each other, it reverses. Marsha Mason is still wonderful, but during some moments, I really felt I could see the acting. It's not that it's bad acting, it's not obvious in a bad way. it's still delivered perfectly, but it felt obvious, on the other hand, Dreyfuss is able to be funny, but also really natural. Also, the movie starts to become predictable, and I really wanted there to be more development, things got too rushed. Especially the ending. It seemed so unbelievable to me. And I think that Quinn Cummings should have been given more material to work with, but that's the script's fault and it doesn't really affect Marsha's performance.

But Marsha Mason still delivers an excellent, entertaining performance that along with Dreyfuss, makes the movie worth seeing. She gets


Fritz said...

I loved the movie itself when I watched it and I really liked Dreyfuss. I will hold my thoughts about Marsha to myself, for now! :-)

Anyway, great to see you reviewing again!

dinasztie said...

I don't know how I would think when I rewatch her, but right now I agree. I loved the scene when she fell on the street with all the food and everything.

Tom said...

She would be my pick for winner this year.

Louis Morgan said...

I thought she was great throughout the film, although I will agree that the film itself became very routine at the end there.

joe burns said...

Fritz: Thanks! And I hope you do a 70's or 200's year soon..

Dinasztie: She does do a great job in that scene, I really like the performance, as I said above.

Tom: Would you have given her the win in other years as well?

Louis: Yes, the movie really went down in the 2nd part, but she is still great.

Anonymous said...

Love her, love the movie, and love the performance :)

joe burns said...

I really like her here too, but a four seemed like the right grade, though I might switch it. She's grown on me a little.