Friday, February 22, 2013

Still film: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

I love Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).  Its been referenced by so many photoshoots (see the foursome with alternating facial expressions snuggled in bed) and TV shows and films and etc, its reputation precedes the film itself.  Before I saw it I figured it was a typical 60s sex farce, filled with slapstick and sexual tension.  Then, it came on Turner Classic Movies late one night and from the opening drive through the mountains of California with Natalie Wood & Robert Culp to the mushy group therapy session, I was hooked.  It wasn't a lighthearted sex romp, but an honestly confusing look at 30-something couples reexamining their lives and the notions they hold to be true.  There's a serious clash that occurs between the idealized free-love, open-arms spiritual worldview they experienced in the bubble of the retreat they attended, the safe cozy lives they life with their more traditional friends and family, and the fleshly, materialistic glitz of the Hollywood scene they frequent.  


Documentary film-maker Bob Saunders and his wife Carol attend a group therapy session that inspires them to change their outlook on life. Tensions arise and opinions clash as Bob and Carol descend from their utopian therapy retreat high in the mountains, to reenter their day to day lives and share new outlooks with couple friends, Ted and Alice. There are no clear answers as the group questions career, drugs, monogamy, loyalty and their lifes' paths.


" Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice request the company of your pleasure. "


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