When I think of this film, I think of my older brother's generation, graduating from high school about 1956, and from college about 1960. Mazursky catches the look of a certain kind of young people of that era, their fashions, their expressions, their masks and identities. There's a sense of confusion and discovery, or rejection of the restrictions of middle class culture and their embracing of a murkily-defined bohemian alternative, and the disruption that brings to their lives, culturally, socially, sexually.
The film also reminds me of my years spent living near and wandering around Greenwich Village, 1966-70. Some of the kinds of people Mazursky shows were still there, ten years older, either mystified or amused or annoyed by the hippie hoards invading them. Honky-tonk, high rents, and mass culture bohemianism had arrived.
Mazursky gets this right. I don't know how this picture would play to those not interested or affected by the sociology time capsule, but I think it still would play.
And hats off to Shelly Winters, once again playing an impossible mother.
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