“I want you right here, where you belong.”
Two college students — Jonathan (Jack Nicholson) and Sandy (Art Garfunkel) — lose their virginity to the same woman (Candice Bergen), then go on to have divergent experiences with other women, including Jonathan shacking up with a buxom model (Ann-Margret) and Sandy dating a young hippie (Carol Kane).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Ann-Margret Films
- Art Garfunkel Films
- Candice Bergen Films
- Carol Kane Films
- Jack Nicholson Films
- Mike Nichols Films
- Rita Moreno Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this fourth feature film by director Mike Nichols — after Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Graduate (1967), and Catch-22 (1970) — was “an ‘in’ film of the early seventies, when college-age viewers defended its sexual frankness — indeed, this was a rare film about sex — and argued about its themes.” He writes that this movie (scripted by Jules Feiffer) “about two friends… and how their attitudes toward sex and women evolve from the late forties to 1971” is “the story of men who think of women as the enemy, who [thus] can’t be treated with sincerity because they’re putting on an act themselves in order to trap a man.”
However, “it’s not women who dehumanize and emasculate these men, but their own fear of women (‘ballbreakers’ as Nicholson calls them).”
Peary asserts that “Nichols’s direction is innovative but very cold,” while “the acting is exceptional” (he nominates Nicholson as one of the Best Actors of the Year in his Alternate Oscars). I agree with Peary that the “best scene” (albeit the hardest to watch) “is the volatile argument between Nicholson and the depressed Ann-Margret, who reveals her desire for marriage.”
This film is one I resisted rewatching for as long as possible, knowing it’s a rough if distressingly honest ride — however, it remains worth a one-time look for the performances and its historical significance. Watch for Rita Moreno in a small but crucial closing scene with Nicholson.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Ann-Margret as Bobbie
- Giuseppe Rotunno’s cinematography
Yes, once, for its historical relevance.