The fact that this film was deemed controversial when it was first released is just awesome. It shows how amazingly far we've come in what we deem over-the-top now. Sad maybe.
I saw this film a number of years ago and re-watched it after having recommended it to a producer as a potential reference for a film we're developing. Might be the wrong film to use as a reference, but I'll be damned if it still isn't a great one.
It's not surprising at all that this film was originally intended to be a play. There are so many fantastic lines and dialogues, but what's so great about this film and Mike Nichols as a filmmaker in general is that he really knows how to make dialogue cinematic. There are three separate shots/sequences where we sit on one character while the scene takes place around them, out of the frame and we just watch how they react/interact. It's fantastic and says so much about what's going on at that current point of their relationship with these people.
Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel are really great here as two friends that age together. The aging is actually quite impressive and they look like they've aged twenty+ years by the end of it all.
Candice Bergan s wonderful in a really calculated awkwardness. The stand-outs in this film are Nicholson and Ann-Margaret though. Anytime they are on screen together you're peeled, and not just because Ms. Ann shows her goods several times, but their relationship, it's tragic dynamic is just impossible to look away from.
I can see this film being a hard one to digest for some, but it's so layered in ideas and thoughts and sexual politics. I'm glad I revisited it.