The Goodbye Girl

The Goodbye Girl is a 1977 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Herbert Ross, written by Neil Simon and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings and Paul Benedict. The film, produced by Ray Stark, centers on an odd trio of characters: a struggling actor who has sublet a Manhattan apartment from a friend, the current occupant (his friend's ex-girlfriend, who has just been abandoned), and her precocious young daughter.


Dancer and divorcee Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) and her ten-year-old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings) live in a Manhattan apartment with her married boyfriend, Tony DeForrest. Coming home from shopping, Paula finds Tony gone as he'd suddenly deserted her to travel to Italy for a film role. Prior to his departure (and unbeknownst to Paula), Tony sublet the apartment to Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss), a neurotic but sweet aspiring actor from Chicago, who shows up in the middle of the night expecting to move in. Paula, who is demanding, cynical, and neurotic, makes it clear from the start that she doesn't like Elliot, but reluctantly lets him move in. They argue about boundaries, with Elliot agreeing to allow Paula and Lucy to stay.