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Goodbye Lover is a 1998 neo-noir comedy film about a murder plot surrounding an alcoholic advertising agency worker and his adulterous wife. The film was directed by Roland Joffé, and stars Patricia Arquette, Dermot Mulroney, Don Johnson, Ellen DeGeneres and Mary-Louise Parker. The original script was written by Ron Peer; subsequent drafts were written by Robert Pucci, then Buck Henry.

Goodbye Lover
Goodbye lover 98.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoland Joffé
Produced byAlexandra Milchan
Patrick McDarrah
Joel Roodman
Chris Daniel
Screenplay byRon Peer
Joel Cohen
Alec Sokolow
Story byRon Peer
Music byJohn Ottman
CinematographyDante Spinotti
Edited byWilliam Steinkamp
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$1.9 million[1]

The film premiered at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival,[2] before being released theatrically in April 1999. Following its premiere, reshoots were done in Beverly Hills, and the climax was changed.


The films opens up with a lovely woman named Sandra Dunmore (Patricia Arquette) wearing a blonde bob-cut wig making a series of calls to her mistress being flirtatious and sexual. The next scene shows that same woman on her way to church where she does various community outreach with her brother-in-law Benjamin "Ben" Dunmore (Don Johnson), as he plays for the church's choir to be practiced, him and Sandra proceed to have sex and talk about their ongoing affair.

The scene carries out to Jake Dunmore (Dermot Mulroney) Sandra's husband & Ben's much younger brother. Ben is an alcoholic who makes a fool of himself in his company's meetings with his Boss and when flirting with the secretary Peggy Blaine (Mary-Louise Parker), who is also having an affair with Ben. When Ben starts to suspect Sandra of revealing their affair, he takes drastic measures to avoid her as he knows how psychotic she can be, when they are almost caught having sex in a house Sandra is selling.

Sandra now more furious than ever is stalking and harassing Ben, who is trying to establish a healthy relationship with Peggy. At a dinner party Jake who is hungover, tells Ben he suspects something is wrong in his marriage and he is considering Suicide. Ben dismisses this as nothing and suggest he stop drinking. The next morning Jake causes an outburst and tells Ben he is aware of his wife's infidelity and will stop at nothing to get revenge.

One night when Peggy & Ben come home from dinner to go on a second sexual conquest, a drunken Jake calls Ben in a rage telling him he knows of the affair and is going to kill himself if not him. When Ben leaves a now angered Peggy, he goes to his Brother's apartment and sees how the place is trashed with his brother sitting on the balcony ledge. Ben fantasizes about pushing him off the balcony to meet his death, but cannot seem to do so correctly. When he steps outside to attempt to kill him, Sandra blinds him with a Flashlight which startles him and he ends up hanging from the ledge of the balcony. When it is revealed that he has been betrayed by his lover and brothers ben is pushed off from the ledge and falls to his painful death.

Sandra & Ben fake cry to the Sargent Rita (Ellen DeGeneres) & Rollins (Ray McKinnon (actor)). Rita is very skeptical about the story they tell in which a drunken Ben attempted to stop a suicide and in the process killed himself. Rita even takes one copy of a hundred The Sound of Music (film) soundtrack cassettes. She begins to investigate around the story, while dealing with a serial killer case as well. Meanwhile, Sandra & Ben are ready to collect Ben's 2.5 million dollar insurance policy as he has no other dependents or living relatives aside from his brother which reveals their true motives. When Rita & Rollins go to inform Ben's Boss at the company both him & Jake worked at, Peggy an emotional wreck at this point breaks down and reveals her & Ben married in secret in Las Vegas making her the rightful heir to the Ben's fortune.

This however only angers Sandra & Jake, who go to desperate measures to get the money back. Sandra even has the idea to pin Peggy's death on the serial killer Rollins & Rita are hunting. Which turns out to be a hitman who once loved Sandra. The hitman (Will Stewart ) is an actual paid hitman who takes out his victims using a poison in a needle, this is what fools the police into believing a serial killer is behind the murders.

However plans change for Sandra as Jake decides to put the hit out on her instead of Peggy. Sandra eventually discovers that Peggy & Jake have been having an ongoing affair and that Jake actually married Peggy under Ben's Name so she can inherit the money and the two can live comfortably in the woods after his wife died. When Sandra discovers the affair she kills both Jake & Peggy by wearing a disguise to purchase a get away car to push them off a cliff road. While the police discovered the plot between Jake & Peggy, they regretfully inform Sandra who's acting skills don't fool Rita one bit.

Rita, who is tired of always getting the short of the stick with her retirement plan decides to blackmail Sandra, by arresting her for her crimes if she doesn't split both Ben & Jake's insurance which is a total 8 million dollars. Sandra has no choice but to oblige to Rita's demands, unfortunately for Sandra who wasn't aware of the hit Jake called on her, she is attacked by the hitman. Luckily when Rita recognizes the man from the crime scene she rushes to Sandra's rescue.

After defeating the hitman, Sandra imagined killing Rita and blaming it on the hitman, however this only in her imagination. Two months later both women go to collect their money and enjoy a new life of wealth and luxury, even Rollins is happy for the two of them, which he thinks are new best friends. The films end credits show Sandra continuing Ben's duties at the church with a smile on her face as she has no regrets.



Goodbye Lover received negative reviews from critics. It holds a rating of 29% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 34 reviews.[3]

The film lost money to due it's late release and the ending having to be changed which consisted of Sandra getting away with all of the money and Rita dying.


The film served as a basis of inspiration for the 2008 Bollywood film Race.


  1. ^ a b "Goodbye Lover".
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Goodbye Lover". Archived from the original on 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  3. ^

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