The Good Girl



Story of love and frustration isn't for kids.
  • Review Date: July 25, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie is a parable about how the absolute, black and white beliefs of youth give way to mature compromise.

Positive role models

None of the main characters are people you would want your kids to emulate.


Two offscreen deaths, one by suicide.


There is a scene of coerced sex that verges on rape; other sex scenes.


Strong language is used throughout the film.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol and drug abuse (pot) are depicted.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film deals with potentially upsetting issues such as mental illness and infidelity in an understated manner. Strong language is used throughout the film, and there are several scenes depicting sex without frontal nudity. Alcohol and drug abuse (pot) are depicted. There is a scene of coerced sex that verges on rape, and two offscreen deaths, one by suicide.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

THE GOOD GIRL is a mature story about love and frustration with special appeal for fans (teenage and adult) of Jennifer Aniston. In a suburban Texas town, Justine (Anniston) works at the local Retail Rodeo. Her job is a bore, and her jerk of a husband (John C. Reilly) spends every afternoon stoned on the couch with his buddy (Tim Blake Nelson). Alienated from everyone, Justine thinks she's found a soulmate in Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal), the sulky new cashier at the Rodeo. He's really a writer, and he's named after the main character in Catcher in the Rye, and nobody understands him. That he's only 22 to Justine's 30 makes him all the more forbidden fruit, and they quickly start a torrid affair. But Justine has much more to lose than Holden, and as he becomes more and more needy, Justine finds herself forced to choose between her new love and the everyday life she finds slipping away.

Is it any good?


The Good Girl has both funny and touching moments; all the actors give very sharp performances with great dialogue, but the plot fails slightly at the end. If this movie is a parable about how the absolute, black and white beliefs of youth give way to mature compromise, the story itself should never just fade to an unsatisfying "realistic" gray.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Justine's decision at the end of the film, and how it might affect her life in the future.

  • The title of the film is both serious and ironic -- in what ways is Justine

  • a good girl, and how does she balance her desires with the good of the

  • people around her?

  • What made Holden so attractive to Justine at the beginning, and how did this make him "a demon" by the end?

  • Although Christianity plays a relatively small role in the story,

  • parents with strong faith will want to talk about the issues of

  • forgiveness and coercion explicitly brought up by the film. What's the

  • difference between professing a faith and adhering to it?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 2002
DVD release date:January 7, 2003
Cast:Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Aniston, John C. Reilly
Director:Miguel Arteta
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexuality, some language, and drug content.

This review of The Good Girl was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bywonder dove October 17, 2013

Offbeat & Compelling!

I recently viewed this movie and it was very depressing yet very engaging. It's deep and dramatic. However, I often wondered why they would call it the "good" girl? It features Jennifer Anniston as Justine who is a very unhappy woman working at Retail Rodeo as a store clerk. Who can blame her, with a lazy husband Phil (John C. Reilly) that spends his days smoking pot with his best friend Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson) and watching TV almost constantly. She becomes attracted to a young stock boy Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is actually depressed too, maybe even more than her. But their similarities drive them closer and she ends up having an affair with him causing her to lie continuously to her husband about where she's been. The affair ends rather quickly when one night, Bubba see's them coming out of a motel room together. He strikes up a plan of his own which pressures Justine even more in her already messed up head. The story ends rather cold. Zooey Deschanel also plays a funny part as Justine's friend working at Retail Rodeo. There is a hint of comedy throughout. Language is quite strong with f-words and more. Violence includes a suicide that's not graphic but you see the dead body later. A man slaps his wife across the face. A cut to the hand on purpose with blood shown. Some deaths. Sexual content has cheating & lying, a sex scene with blankets covering most of the body but there's thrusting and some light moaning. Another sex scene where the woman looks bored but can also be disguised as rape. Kissing between couples. A quick scene of masturbation while touching a woman's breast (not graphic). Another reference to masturbation - nothing shown but you can tell by his facial expression. There is drug use of pot throughout, also mentioning he needs to get stoned when he's frustrated. There's drinking. Definitely not okay for teens under 17!! Mature audiences only.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byRachel D April 9, 2008

The horrible, awful, disgusting bad girl

I can't believe I didn't turn and run from this one. Nothing good to say, depressing, dark, completely immoral. PLEASE do not see this film!


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