Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Marsha Mason in "The Goodbye Girl"

Marsha Mason received her second Oscar nomination for playing Paula McFadden, a struggling dancer and single mother in The Goodbye Girl.


The Goodbye Girl tells the story of Paula McFadden, a struggling dancer and single mother, whose ex-boyfriend has sublet their apartment to a struggling actor (Richard Dreyfuss).


Paula is having a very hard time, with everything. When Elliott enters her life, she makes it very clear, she doesn't like him. Through both of their struggles, it brings them closer together.


Marsha Mason is a bright light as Paula. She never tries to make the audience sympathetic to her character, and her the constant bad luck that befalls her. She shows Paula is a smart, dedicated woman, but lonely, and wanting more from life that she knows she'll never have.


She's goes from one sad situation to another (including a very heart-wrenching scene where her purse is stolen), and Marsha Mason is still able to infuse a certain kind of energy within her work.


When a performer is able to inject humor within their powerful drama, I commend it, and Marsha Mason's performance is a prime example of this. She has the most witty lines and Marsha always says them with class and charm. When their relationship soon hits a new level, Paula is genuinely happy, but she forgets what actors do to her life...

Mason in the last scenes are nothing short of amazing. She has a quiet breakdown over her new found love for Elliott, and Mason really nails the emotions Paula has for Elliott.

Marsha also gets a big plus for working with Richard Dreyfuss. He's screechy and does nothing with his lines. I'd like to think his Oscar was really Marsha's, but whatever.

Marsha Mason gives one of the most charming performances I've seen. Never making Paula annoying or too pitiful, but always watchable and always lovable. Her performance might look easy, but I feel it was a challenge given her witty dialogue and her dreadful co-star.

27 comments:

Fritz said...

I liked her but I think that she overshadowed by the wonderful Richard Dreyfuss.

Sage Slowdive said...

Oh god, well we'll just have to agree to disagree on Richard Dreyfuss.

Fritz said...

I know! :-)

I thought he was great in his role and was such an unlikely hero in a romantic comedy.

Sage Slowdive said...

He just...annoyed me, on a multitude level. But, maybe that was the point of his performance?

Fritz said...

I don't know, I never felt annoyed by him. I thought he and Marsha had great chemistry and worked very well with each other.

Sage Slowdive said...

I do give him credit for lightening up in the second part of the movie, but god, those first scenes especially the ones where he is meditating or rehearsing, there just too annoying for me.

Fritz said...

I thought he combined comedy with annoyance which worked so well because it created all the tension between him and Mason even though it is clear from the beginning that they will fall in love.

Sage Slowdive said...

Oh yeah :)

I was a bit overcomed with Quinn Cummings on this re-watch...it seems like they were trying to make her a sassy companion for Mason, and instead she comes off endearing and sweet...I might throw her my win for supporting this year.

Fritz said...

Mmh, for me, it's Vanessa Redgrave + 4 fillers that year :-)

Sage Slowdive said...

:D

Well, I really like Quinn Cummings and Tuesday Weld, and as good as Vanessa is in that cafe scene, the rest of her performance really didn't do anything for me.

joe burns said...

Great writeup! I did like her performance, but I should rewatch it to see what all of her performance has to offer.

Louis Morgan said...

She's good, but I cannot stand Dreyfuss.

joe burns said...

What did you think of him in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind? I haven't seen that yet, but I've heard some good things about him. And speaking of him being annoying, he was incredibly irritiating when he is presenting Sally Field's Oscar for Norma Rae.

Malcolm said...

She does sound great.

Do you have a link to this movie?

Sage Slowdive said...

Oddly, he was pretty much doing himself in Close Encounters...like I said, for me, his Oscar win is a mystery.

Here's a link to Goodbye Girl:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J6J-iTtOfo&feature=PlayList&p=080006823857CB33&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1

joe burns said...

And is the winner from the 90's you said that isn't your pick anymore Kathy Bates?

joe burns said...

Who was the frontrunner to win that year?

Sage Slowdive said...

Can't we just wait until I get to those years?

I'm pretty sure Richard Burton was expected to win that year.

joe burns said...

Oh okay. Was Diane's win a surprise? I can never figure it out if it was.

Sage Slowdive said...

I somewhat believe Jane Fonda might have been the frontrunner, but I don't know.

Malcolm said...

Thanks for the link. It's so hard to look since it is in disguise. Or I am just an idiot in terms of searching?

Anyway, the movie looks good. Gotta see it.

Fritz said...

I don't think that Diane's win a surprise. She received a good deal of critics awards and was the central character in the eventual Best Picture winner. Plus, she also had the two Godfather movies in her resumée which surely helped her to get even more votes.

dinasztie said...

Keaton was definitely the frontrunner, the public adored her and everyone wanted her to win. It was not a surprise win at all.

Sage Slowdive said...

We're speaking of critics prizes and the precursor awards.

It probably wasn't a surprise since Diane had a GG, Bafta, and 2 critics prizes for Annie Hall.

Wes said...

You're being so hard on Dreyfuss! I'm surprised. If there's anyone in the cast who is overrated, it's Quinn Cummings, who received an Oscar nom for a series of wooden line readings.

Sage Slowdive said...

No, not being hard on him at all. I just found him to be annyoing, does that mean he was terrible? No. But, I thought Marsha and Quinn were miles away better from his performance.

Malcolm said...

I just watched it and it was great!

Mason was deserving. HOWEVER, Keaton is in her year.

Dreyfuss' win is I think, justified.

Cummings had a nomination? What a shame.

The film was over all excellent EXCEPT for he meditation scene. Oh, slapstick gone wrong.....