"Movies like Getting Straight are ceasing to be tolerable" complained one conservative movie magazine of 1970. Today, the once-relevant but now merely entertaining Getting Straight is not only tolerable, but downright user-friendly. Elliot Gould plays a Vietnam vet who decides to attend college after his tour of duty. Though much too old and worldly to truly fit in with the naive flower-power generation, Gould becomes swept up in the various activist movements on campus. The leading character's crisis of conscience concerns his field of study: he wants to be a teacher for idealistic reasons, while his Establishment professors try to convince him that it's just another job, and hardly the best one at that. He finally chooses which side he's on while attempting to act as a mediator between students and faculty during a campus riot. Candice Bergen plays Gould's girlfriend, while Robert F. Lyons steals every scene he's in as a draft dodger who'll go to any lengths to avoid military service. Getting Straight represents the final screen appearance of Cecil Kellaway, here cast as a hidebound tenured professor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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If you are looking for a movie that puts you smack in the middle of a major college campus during the peak of the Vietnam War protests, this is the ONLY one that gets it right. The dialogue sparkles with intelligence and wit. Yes, it may be difficult to like the character of Harry but, despite his hillariously over-the-top tirades, he clearly has a heart of gold. His girlfriend, Jan, is an intriguing character whose feminist sensibilities are just dawning, in fits and starts.
There are countless examples of juxtaposing images not only for humorous and satiric effect, but also to make a political statement, such as Harry's oral exam being held in a conference room where, through the windows, you can see the barbed-wire barriers and National Guard being deployed.
If you were there during the late sixties, this is a true trip down memory lane. If you weren't, no movie could get you closer.
It may seem dated by today's standards, but "Getting Straight" is an interesting historical slice of life portrait from the 60s counter culture point of view. Fresh from M*A*S*H, the always entertaining Elliot Gould was at the beginning of his rise to major star status when this film came out in 1970.
This is a very dated movie and it tends to be corny, but it is a fun movie to watch at least once. It is interesting to see a very young Harrison Ford in a very small part as the neighbor of Candice Bergen.