Taking Off

Screening on Film
Directed by Milos Forman.
With Lynn Carlin, Buck Henry, Kathy Bates.
US, 1971, 35mm, color, 89 min.
Print source: HFA

“I think we oughta change the balance of power a little bit. I’m saving up to buy an intercontinental ballistic missile.”

Milos Forman’s first American movie is a hilarious parody of the generation gap at its most gaping. A teenage girl sneaks out of the house to audition for a singing contest. Her parents, imagining that she has either run away, become a druggie, a hooker, or joined the Manson Family, begin combing the city for her. They find other parents, also searching for their children. They end up with hundreds of others at a seminar of the Society for the Parents of Fugitive Children, where their boundaries are challenged and expanded. Meanwhile, the kids are desperately trying to express their unfulfilled yearnings through music. The kids are lost. The parents are lost. An affectionate and funny film with equal empathy for both sides. Climaxes with a brilliant scene in which two middle-class NY couples play strip poker. Buck Henry (writer of The Graduate) is perfect as the confused father; Paul Benedict, Lynn Carlin and Vincent Schiavelli all enjoy memorable moments.

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