A night of early 60s' youth
Robert J. Crawford | Balmette Talloires, France | 09/26/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is really a wonderful film, full of imaginative touches that strummed my heartstrings. With the music and our knowledge of what came later, the emotional impact is quite powerful.
You get a solid cast of characters, many of whom later became major stars. Dreyfus is a dreamy, talented youth, unsure of what he is going to do the next day - step on the airplane to collge in the East or settle down in the hometown he loves and yet has the nagging feeling he's outgrown. Ron Howard, the dependable guy who is egging Dreyfus on to accompany him, faces his own dilemma with a high school sweetheart who is strong willed, manipulative, and narrow-minded, if loving. There is also a young Harrison Ford and an early effort by George Lucas. The chemistry of the characters as they interact is realistic and fun. There are also the themes of growing up and pulling away for greater possibilities, young romance, and looming adult choices. Hanging over the whole thing, of course, is the impending catastrophe of Vietnam that will impact all of the characters in fundamental ways.
My reservations about the film are also present. It is too short to be much deeper than a nostalgic glimpse into a place that would soon cease to exist. I did not like the shooting sequence at the liquor store, which was a badly contrived moment in an otherwise believable film. I would have preferred more characters and a more complicated plot than hanging out in the downtown pickup scene.
Nonetheless, I warmly recommend this film. The music score plays some of the greatest pre-Beatle hits and the emotions, if too clean, ring true enough."