Having discovered that she is pregnant, Natalie Ravenna, a Long Island housewife panics and leaves home to see if she might just possibly have made something different out of herself; if she can manage to unshackle her grocery list worth of responsibilities that add up to a life with a husband she loves. In a motel room where Natalie stops to rest during the day, she sits motionless on the bed, and experiences the exuberance of complete freedom and the queasy feelings of new beginnings. Natalie continues on with her journey and picks up a young hitch-hiker named Killer, an attractive brain-damaged football player. It is through Killer that a more disturbing question is posed to Natalie than that of domestic responsibility. How deeply are we wedded to chance meetings and are we responsible for the crimes that we witness?Written by
Italian censorship visa # 55933 delivered on 10 April 1970. See more »
Natalie & Gordon drive into a parking lot. It is a sunny and (almost) windless day. See the trees in the overhead shot. He gets off his bike. She gets out of the car. Then there is significant wind. See the trees in the background. See more »
Soul-searching American odyssey, far ahead of its time...
Francis Ford Coppola wrote and directed this stunningly personal story of a married woman's flight from her husband--and the reality that perhaps the youthful glee and excitement of her younger years are behind her. We learn little about this woman's marriage except that she has been feeling her independence slipping away as of late; she's also recently learned she's pregnant, which has further complicated her heart (she doesn't want to be a complacent wifey, despite the maternal way she speaks to her husband over the phone). She meets two men on her journey: a former college football hero who--after an accident during a game--has been left with permanent brain damage, and a sexy, strutting motorcycle cop who has a great deal of trouble in his own life. The clear, clean landscapes (as photographed by the very talented Wilmer Butler) are astutely realized, as are the characters. Shirley Knight, James Caan, and Robert Duvall each deliver strong, gripping performances, most especially since these are not very likable people in conventional terms. Some scenes (such as Knight's first call home from a pay-phone, or her first night alone with Caan where they play 'Simon Says') are almost too intimate to watch. Coppola toys with reality, turning the jagged memories of his characters into scrapbooks we've been made privy to. He allows scenes to play out, yet the editing is quite nimble and the film is never allowed to get too heavy (there are at least two or three very frisky moments). It's a heady endeavor--so much so that the picture was still being shown at festivals nearly five years later. Some may shun Coppola's unapologetic twisting of events in order to underline the finale with bitter irony, however the forcefulness and drive behind the picture nearly obliterate its shortcomings. *** from ****
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