How entertaining? ★★★☆☆
Thought provoking? ★★☆☆☆
7 November 2011
This a movie review of TAKING OFF.
“Now are there any other questions before we light up?” Schiavelli (Vincent Schiavelli)
Released on DVD for the first time, the 1971 movie from directing maestro Milos Forman (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST; AMADEUS) is one of his lightest; considering he’s dealt with the likes of censorship (THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT) and religious tyranny (GOYA’S GHOSTS). It is about inter-generational understanding, in particular the relationship between parents and children. This is heightened by the growing disparity since the ‘60s. TAKING OFF would make an intriguing double-bill with Berlinale world premiere THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD, a far darker look at the generations not comprehending one-another.
This is a New York-set comedy, which is not laugh-out-loud funny, but generally smile inducing; though the running away theme doesn’t quite sit right – maybe that can be attributed to a more innocent time? Fifteen-year-old Jeannie Tyne (Linnea Heacock) goes missing one day, lying to her parents that she is hanging out with a mate. Clingingly the parents get hysterical, she’s only be gone a few hours, and it’s not clear Jeannie has even run away. She has gone to an audition. Oddly it’s only female singers. What is it even for? Jeannie’s parents, mother Lynn (Lynn Carlin) and father Larry (Buck Henry), in the hunt for their daughter end up getting into all sorts of shenanigans, loosening up along the way. What elevates the story is its unexpected turns and the great editing, juxtaposing contrasting scenes entertainingly. Perhaps self-consciously counter-culture - dealing with drugs, dancing, nudity, music and freedom – but not less engaging for that.