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I was a dreadful insomniac during my time at university. Maybe it was something to do with my studies. Maybe it was something to do with my bi-polar lifestyle. Or maybe it was because I drank too much coffee and smoked too many cigarettes. Who knows? Maybe, Director: Jake Paltrow; or Actors: Penélope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny DeVito, Martin Freeman, and Simon Pegg, will? Though only in the year 2007 and for 88-minutes.

The Good Night

Ex boy-band member and current music producer, Gary (Martin Freeman), is not in a very happy place at the moment. He is in a monotonous relationship with Art promoter girlfriend, Dora (Gwyneth Paltrow). His work in the music studio is maudlin to say the least. Plus his best friend, Paul (Simon Pegg) constantly has sex on his mind.

Heck, the only place that Gary ever manages to get some respite, is when he is asleep, and dreams of Anna (Penelope Cruz) – the perfect girl with the perfect smile in the perfect place.

In fact, Gary's yearn for Anna is so strong, that he starts pushing Dora emotionally away from him, whilst at the same time trying to figure out a way to control his dreams so that he can be with Anna more often. For example, Gary meets up with Lucid Dream specialist, Mel (Danny DeVito), whom teaches him how to use his dream-state to his advantage. Next, he encases his apartment in a sound-proof cocoon, so that no outside noise can disturb his sleep. Plus in addition to this, Gary's strange behavior gets on Dora's nerves so much, that she takes’ a break from him, by accepting a temporary scouting mission for her gallery to find new budding artists.

Now, with all this in place, Gary really tries his best to sleep-sleep-sleep, just so he can be with Anna more-more-more. However, Gary’s over eagerness subliminally backfires on him – and his dreams start to turn into fantasies of Dora. Moreover, when he goes to Mel to help him resolve this issue, in so doing, he also discovers that Anna – the lady of his dreams – is in fact a real person called Melodia.

Bloody Hell!

Thankfully, though, through his mate Paul, Gary manages to meet up with Melodia, just so he can satisfy if this real girl and his dream girl are one and the same. Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right subliminal affair of happenstance and change I can tell you. As people do not appear as they seem - lovers try to reunite as a team - sleep does start to become a theme - and it all finally ends in a long winded dream.


Now I wasn’t too sure what to expect from 'The Good Night' when I first sat down and watched it! Well, the director was someone’s brother (Gwyneth Paltrow), and the cast comprised of one-half British Sit-Com actors, and one-half Hollywood-Royalty. Next, once I read the ‘bill matter’ attached to this movie, I was not that impressed with it either – as the pretext was about some bloke who wants to fall asleep, so that he could be with the girl of his dreams, HA! Granted, the girl in question is none other than Penélope Cruz, but the other girl – the one that is of the real world – was Gwyneth Paltrow, WOW! "What a choice!" I thought to myself, “If I had this guy’s life" I continued "I’d sleep half the day, and try to stay awake for the other half”.

However, when I finally sat down and saw this flick - boy-oh-boy - I was right from the very beginning, this film wasn't what I expected at all.

Gweneth and Martin in The Good Night

Please note, I mean this in a good way of course, as this film is very well executed in the telling. Personally speaking, I find that Martin Freeman really does carry the weight of this film on his shoulders in a very compelling fashion, as his performance is both understated yet conversant at the same time. Also, in addition to this, the supporting players back him up in the most gratifying way possible – with Simon playing the idiot friend – with Gwyneth playing the put upon beau – with Danny playing the maverick Yoda – and with Penélope playing both the wet dream and the rock chick. Moreover, I especially liked the interview segments inserted within this film as well, with all these background players capturing an almost Woody Allen like subtext to drive this movie along quite nicely.

Danny and Martin in The Good Night

Still, whilst saying all of that, ‘The Good Night’ does have one minor pitiful that it does not avoid – and that is all to do with pacing. One minute the movie is slow, mundane, and repetitive, and the next minute this movie is frantic, bold, and somewhat lavish. Granted, I can understand why this was conveyed in the first place – to capture the frame of mind of the main character, Gary, is in. But within its execution, it can also be slightly off putting in the telling of the story too.

Overall, though, this is a really nice film with really good actors in it, and it is something I would recommend to anyone who enjoys films like 'Sleeper', 'Ghost Town', or 'Lost In Translation'.

Penelope and Martin in The Good Night

Now go to sleep.


THE GOOD NIGHT THE GOOD NIGHT Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on June 08, 2011 Rating: 5
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