Synopsis by Lucia Bozzola
"Consider the possibilities," read the ads for Paul Mazursky's 1969 satirical comedy about what happens when the sexual revolution hits affluent bourgeois life. After a weekend of "beautiful" emotional honesty at an Esalen-type retreat, married wannabe hipsters Bob (Robert Culp) and Carol (Natalie Wood) return to their well-heeled Los Angeles life determined to apply the principles of free love and complete openness to their marriage. To the respective curiosity and repulsion of their married best friends, Ted (Elliott Gould) and Alice (Dyan Cannon), Bob and Carol have affairs that they happily reveal to everyone. Inspired by all that openness during the quartet's trip to Vegas, Ted admits an affair of his own, provoking the outraged Alice to demand that this new ethos be taken to its obvious conclusion: a mate-sharing foursome. Once they're bedded down and ready to go, however, they start to have second thoughts. Without sacrificing authenticity for comedy, first-time director Mazursky and co-writer/producer Larry Tucker delve into the confusion of the Eisenhower generation when faced with the temptations of the counterculture. Too old to be hippies and too young to be fogies, the would-be California swingers sincerely attempt to try on the lifestyle, but it never looks quite right. A then-controversial example of the New Permissiveness both onscreen and off, Bob & Carol debuted at the New York Film Festival to great praise, particularly for Gould and Cannon. Whether they wanted to laugh at their elders' faux looseness or see what their peers might be doing, audiences turned Bob & Carol into a substantial hit, and its observations about marriage and sex remain humorously sharp even if the encounter group jargon is past its vogue.
free-love, friendship, jealousy, love, open-relationship, sex, sexual-revolution, swinger, deception, freedom
High Artistic Quality