Good Night Movie Review (2023)

Vinayak Chandrasekaran

Vinayak Chandrasekaran's 'Good Night' is an easy watch with a few good laughs, but it struggles to hang on to a single tonality

Good Night Movie Review

Good Night Movie Cast & Crew

Production : Million Dollar Studios,MRP Entertainment
Music Director : Sean Roldan

Good Night, written and directed by Vinayak Chandrasekaran, has been sold as a comedy about a man with a snoring problem – but it's actually more of a drama, and it's about a lot more than that man with the snoring problem. But let's begin with the beginning, where we meet the family of this man, Mohan, played by Manikandan. We meet his mother, his two sisters, the brother-in-law who lives with them, and also a neighbour who comes and freely asks for a favour. The milieu is instantly established in a matter of minutes – and it's the same with Anu, played by Meetha Raghunath. She's a loner whose only "family" is the lovely old couple she rents her room from. The casual rapport between this older duo is fantastic. I wanted to watch a whole movie about them.

I also wanted to watch a whole movie about Mohan's older sister, Maha, and her husband Ramesh. Raichal Rabecca and Ramesh Thilak play these characters, and they are superb together – they make us believe they are actually a real-life couple. The writing in these parts feels like a comfortable old sofa. If we see them getting a little physical despite the fact that anyone could barge in at any time, we also realise the love they have for each other and the fact that they are desperately trying for a child after five years of marriage. One of the most amazing scenes in the film is when this woman realises that the very same people who cursed her when she was "barren" are now nicer to her, after she gets pregnant. The way she yells at her husband, the way he almost storms off, the way he quickly returns and makes us smile – it's brilliantly written and acted.

The scene-writing has this lovely quality of starting somewhere and ending somewhere else, like the quarrel that ends with the discovery that the sister is pregnant. Mohan works in IT and earns quite a bit more than Ramesh, who repairs water filters. This leads to a lovely bit where Maha calls him and says she is going to use his credit card for a scan and asks him to give her the OTP he will soon get on his phone. There is no embarrassment on her side, and from his side, there is no sense of being exploited. This is the nicest film family you've seen in years. And there are big laughs in the way Ramesh becomes "family" with everyone whose home he services, including Mohan – that's how he married Mohan's sister.

And it's again a water filter issue that unites Mohan and Anu. There are laughs here, too, but this pair does not click. Manikandan is very good in a part that's all over the place – he tries his best to not let the cracks in the half-tragic, half-comic character show. But Meetha Raghunath has a permanently  lost look and she's unable to fully convey the emotions of a character who – like Mohan and his snoring – has issues of her own. And this is why the film never realises its potential. This central relationship starts off well enough, but it becomes very repetitive – and in the second half, it becomes extremely contrived. It's never clear why Mohan would not consult a sleep specialist earlier. And once he does, it's not convincing that he doesn't go back again. 

Instead, we are given a lot of supposedly "comic" scenes of Mohan trying to stop his snoring problem using YouTube videos – it doesn't work after the third or fifth time.  The scene of Mohan's younger sister's friends laughing at his snoring, the scenes of Mohan's bad relationship with his boss (played by Bagavathi Perumal) – these seem very artificial. Why not treat the Mohan-Anu scenes with the same dignity as the Maha-Ramesh scenes, where even a big tragedy is never allowed to get out of hand? Good Night – at first – shows so much promise that it's a pity the film sinks into a melodramatic mess that's unable to decide on a tone. But for a first-time director, there is certainly a voice here – and I left the theatre hoping that the next time, this voice will be heard louder, and with more confidence.

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Baradwaj Rangan

National Award-winning film critic Baradwaj Rangan, former deputy editor of The Hindu and senior editor of Film Companion, has carved a niche for himself over the years as a powerful voice in cinema, especially the Tamil film industry, with his reviews of films. While he was pursuing his chemical engineering degree, he was fascinated with the writing and analysis of world cinema by American critics. Baradwaj completed his Master’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations through scholarship. His first review was for the Hindi film Dum, published on January 30, 2003, in the Madras Plus supplement of The Economic Times. He then started critiquing Tamil films in 2014 and did a review on the film Subramaniapuram, while also debuting as a writer in the unreleased rom-com Kadhal 2 Kalyanam. Furthermore, Baradwaj has authored two books - Conversations with Mani Ratnam, 2012, and A Journey Through Indian Cinema, 2014. In 2017, he joined Film Companion South and continued to show his prowess in critiquing for the next five years garnering a wide viewership and a fan following of his own before announcing to be a part of Galatta Media in March 2022.