With a witty screenplay by Neil Simon and an excellent cast, The Goodbye Girl (1977) had the pieces in place for an utterly appealing romantic comedy. Lightly directed by Herbert Ross, Simon's apartment-sharing scenario uniting a wary single mother with a struggling actor finds the humor in a quintessentially contemporary milieu of serial relationships, commitment-phobia, and New York real estate. Then-wife of Simon, Marsha Mason revealed her talent for comedy as well as dramatic emotion in her performance as the gun-shy Paula, while newcomer Quinn Cummings was charmingly self-assured as her young daughter, Lucy. Rising star Richard Dreyfuss' Elliott was both broadly hilarious playing an ill-conceived Richard III and charmingly sensitive as a romantic lead. Greeted as a straightforward piece of joyful escapism, The Goodbye Girl became an unexpected hit, and earned several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay. Ross was nominated for directing The Turning Point (1977) instead. The 29-year-old Dreyfuss took home the Best Actor statuette, becoming the youngest winner of the award.
by Lucia Bozzola review