In Looking for Mr Goodbar, Theresa Dunn (Diane Keaton) is a school teacher by day, and an adventurous bar-hopper at night. After being brought up in a repressive Catholic environment, and with body image issues due to a scoliosis scar on her back, Theresa, due to the influence of her adventurous older sister Katherine (Tuesday Weld), begins a series of one-night stands that escalate into dangerous, and violent encounters with men, and in doing so, rejects her family’s expectations that she go down the traditional path of marriage and kids.
Sampling all manner of taboos: drugs, pornography, and debauchery, contrasting with her straight-laced daytime persona, Theresa dives in to the pleasure and pain of New York nightlife. Along the way she meets a varied cast of characters, most notably Tony (Richard Gere), a coked-out hustler with mother issues, and Gary (Tom Berenger), a gay-for-pay hustler who eventually rapes, and kills Theresa after she mocks him by accusing him of being secretly gay since he couldn’t maintain an erection.
“What makes the film — which Richard Brooks directed and scripted, adapting Judith Rossner’s bestselling 1975 novel of the same name — so fascinating and repellent at once is precisely the confusion and anxiety it articulates about women’s sexual freedom.”
— Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice
“The film compulsively reiterates themes, visual motifs and parallel narratives, a relentless and repetitive reiteration of ideas that lends that film the aspect of a Freudian dream landscape, a baroque, Boschian sequence of fantasies, projections and illusions.”
— Bruce LaBruce, The Talk House
Did You Know?
In order to protect her reputation, Diane Keaton’s contract forbade the reproduction of any production photographs featuring her in a “sexually suggestive” manner. Looking for Mr Goodbar also had a psychological effect on some cast members: Tom Berenger admits that he had terrible nightmares after playing Gary. The film served as the feature debut of Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation actor, LeVar Burton, who played Cap Jackson. Review our Gay Themed Films Here