Justine (Jennifer Aniston), though, is no longer a girl – she is grown up, married and longs to start a family. Without a doubt her husband Phil (John C. Reilly) loves her, but they have so far been unable to conceive, and Justine wonders if all the pot he smokes with his best friend Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson) might be the reason why.

One day at work, Justine discovers something of a soul mate in Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal), a creative, passionate young man who represents a chance for Justine to escape into a new world of emotional and sexual awakening. But when the affair quickly moves from liberation to poisonous obsession, Justine finds herself ensnared in a chaotic web of blackmail, larceny and love.


Justine Last, Jennifer Aniston, works at Rodeo Retail, a supermarket in a small town in Texas. She's married, not very happily, to Phil, John C. Reilly, a house-painter and pot-smoker who seems to prefer the company of his best buddy, Bubba, Tim Blake Nelson, to that of his wife.

Justine's life changes when she meets Holden, Jake Gyllenhaal, a new employee at the store; Holden isn't his real name – he's a fan of The Catcher in the Rye – and he's a soulful character who charms Justine with his naivete and sensitivity. Before long, the two embark on a secret affair.

The ironically titled The Good Girl is a superb evocation of the effects of a stultifying life on an intelligent young woman, and it allows Jennifer Aniston to give her most accomplished performance to date. Miguel Arteta's very intelligent direction dissects not only the limitations of her marriage – John C. Reilly provides another of his hopeless husband characters – but also of the town itself and the people who live there – the judgmentally religious security guard, the ditzy girl, played by Zooey Deschanel, who makes weird announcements over the store's PA system, the awful, lecherous Bubba, and Justine's co-worker, Gwen, Deborah Rush, who she doesn't much like but who indirectly has a major effect on Justine's life.

This is such an intelligent film it's hard to understand why it's taken so long to get to our cinemas – it's been on the shelf for a year.