Watch Getting Straight
- 2 hr 4 min
Getting Straight is a 1970 satirical comedy-drama film directed by Richard Rush and starring Elliott Gould, Candice Bergen, and Robert F. Lyons. The movie is set in the late 1960s, a time when the United States was gripped by social and political unrest characterized by the student protest movement and the Vietnam War. The story revolves around Harry Bailey (Elliott Gould), a graduate student who has just returned to college after taking a break to work as an anti-war activist. Harry is disillusioned with activist politics but is still determined to make a difference. His aim is to earn his degree and become a teacher, hoping to change people's hearts and minds from within the establishment.
Harry's journey to becoming a teacher is not easy, however. First, his principal advisor, a retired radical named Dr. Edward Erlich (Jeff Corey), refuses to let him finish his thesis on the role of a teacher in a reactionary society. Erlich insists that Harry re-write the thesis to conform to his own Marxist agenda. Harry feels that this goes against his own beliefs and refuses to comply. This leads to a series of confrontations between the two.
Meanwhile, Harry has a rather rocky love life. He is in a volatile relationship with his girlfriend, Jan (Candice Bergen), who is also an activist. Jan has strong opinions on the war and is intensely passionate about her beliefs. Harry feels that Jan is increasingly pushing him into the same radical path that he is trying to move away from. They argue constantly but remain attracted to each other.
Enter Jake (Robert F. Lyons), an ex-Marine newly arrived on campus who has also become disillusioned with the war. Jake and Harry take a liking to each other and end up living together with a group of aspiring authors. But Jake has his own agenda, and as their friendship deepens, it becomes apparent that Jake is not simply a disillusioned soldier but could be an agent of the authorities.
Getting Straight is a movie about coming of age in a turbulent and confusing time. The characters grapple with questions of political commitment, personal identity, and moral responsibility. Gould plays Harry with a wry wit that draws the viewer into his story. Gould's energy and charisma are at the heart of the film. He is funny, charming, and intelligent, and the viewer can't help rooting for him.
Candice Bergen, on the other hand, plays Jan as a prickly and demanding girlfriend who is often confrontational with Harry. She is clearly passionate about her beliefs and is not afraid to voice them. Bergen gives a nuanced performance that balances Jan's intensity with vulnerability.
Lyons plays Jake with a brooding air of menace that is unsettling. Although his character is more of an enigma than Harry or Jan, Lyons does a good job of keeping the viewer guessing about Jake's motives.
Aside from the strong characterizations, Getting Straight features some sharp dialogues that cut to the heart of the issues that the characters face. The film is a critique of the radical left at the time when the anti-war movement was reaching its peak. It is also a satire of the educational establishment, poking fun at the hyper-politicization of academia and the way in which students become pawns in the larger political game.
Overall, Getting Straight is an engaging and thought-provoking movie that resonates with contemporary issues. Although it is more than 50 years old, the questions that the movie poses about protest and social change are still relevant today. While the film can be a bit heavy-handed in places, there's no denying that it packs a punch. Getting Straight is a movie that deserves to be seen for its intelligence, humor, and social commentary.
Getting Straight is a 1970 comedy with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 58.