The Goodbye Girl is a 1977 American romantic comedy-drama film. Directed by Herbert Ross, the film stars Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings, and Paul Benedict. The original screenplay by Neil Simon centers on an odd trio—an egotistical struggling actor who has sublet a Manhattan apartment from a friend, the current occupant (his friend's ex-girlfriend, whom has just been abandoned) and her precocious pre-teen daughter.
Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) learns she has been dumped by her boyfriend Tony and he has sublet their apartment. Shortly thereafter, the neurotic, but sweet Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss) shows up unexpectedly in the middle of the night expecting to live there. Since she cannot return Elliot's rent money, Paula has no choice but to let him move in with her and her 10-year-old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings). However, she makes it very clear from the start that she considers him extremely annoying and unlikeable.
Paula struggles to get back into shape to try to resume her career as a dancer. Meanwhile, Elliot has his own problems. He has landed the title role in an off-off-Broadway production of Richard III, but the director, Mark (Paul Benedict), wants him to play the character as an exaggerated stereotype of a homosexual, in Mark's words, "the queen who wanted to be king." Many theater critics from television stations and newspapers in New York City attend opening night, and they all savage the production, especially Elliot's performance. The play quickly closes.
Despite their frequent clashes, Paula and Elliot fall in love. Then, Elliot is offered a fantastic opportunity for a role in a movie that he cannot turn down. The only catch is that the job is in another city and Elliot will be gone for four weeks. Paula is scared that Elliot is leaving her, never to return, like all the other men in her life. At the last minute, however, Elliot invites Paula to go with him while he is filming the picture and suggests Lucy stay with a friend until they come back. Paula declines, but is happy because she knows Elliot's invitation is evidence that he loves her and will come back to her.
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