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Documentary film-maker Bob Saunders and his wife Carol attend a group therapy session that serves as the backdrop for the opening scenes of the film. Returning to their Los Angeles home, the newly "enlightened" couple chastise their closest friends, Ted and Alice, for not coming to grips with their true feelings. Bob insists that everyone "feel" rather than intellectualize their emotions, and Carol pronounces "that's beautiful" after anyone says anything even remotely personal. Ted and Alice humor their friends, but it is obvious that there is a good-natured sexual tension at work within the foursome. Written by
I love this movie. Although some people may classify it as "dated," the concepts that it deals with are worth exploring today. How honest are we to one another? How often do we actually look at people? And what is love?
From its opening shots (tooling up PCH in a cool car) to its closing ones (people really looking at each other), it's a true work of art. The beginning truly captures the free and concept-expanding atmosphere that is the Esalen Institute, which itself has not changed much since then. Screen goddess Natalie Wood, in one of her best roles, inhabits the honesty and sexual freedom that is Carol. Robert Culp is a strong counterpart to her as Bob. The more repressed couple, Eliott Gould and Dyan Cannon, are perfect.
Along the way, they explore the boundaries of sexuality, monogamy and friendship, and realize that some lines are better left uncrossed. To me, it puts a very fine point on what was going on in the 60s, and where exactly we went wrong.
SEE THIS FILM. It'll give you insight. Promise.
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