Getting Straight (Richard Rush, 1970)

In spite of clearly being on the side of its lefty student protagonists, there’s an unease about the message of this film, which sits tentatively between the debauchery of 1960s psychsploitation (and its accompanying moral outrage) and the verisimilitude of 1970s New Hollywood (and its accompanying weary resignation). While its intended audience is supposed to nod in stoned approval at the hippie hijinks (stashing stashes, dodging drafts, protesting pigs) and wave its fist at the mechanization and corporatization of higher education and the suburbanization of the American Dream, it is difficult to imagine how they (or we) would (or should) respond to the more interesting questions posed by the film: questions of identity, protest, violence, war, pedagogy, gender, generation, propagation, race, and sexuality that get emphatically asked but not quite answered.

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2 Responses to Getting Straight (Richard Rush, 1970)

  1. This was a childhood favorite but as an adult its fag-bashing is a little hard to, er, swallow. But I love that title song!

  2. acbleach says:

    I agree; the film comes across as strangely naive for something with ostensibly “revolutionary” content.

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