Hair (1979)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Love, not war.

The subject and world of hippies has always fascinated me. I myself have experienced a Rainbow Gathering, which of course, is like…modern hippies, even though little has changed with them other than clothing styles and heavy drugs. Their view of the world still remains intact, and even though they are easy for a lot of people to mock and make fun of, they are genuinely good people, just misunderstood. I also really enjoy musicals for the most part, so  I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and watch a film I’ve heard about but never seen that deals with both the subject of musicals and hippies – Hair.

Now, this film focuses around a young chap named Claude (John Savage) whose cowboy roots developed into patriotism. So with big dreams of making a difference in the Vietnam War leads him to New York to sign up. That’s when he meets a group of hippies that show him what love, friendship, and ultimately fun…really means. Of course, this kind of lifestyle was very different from his Babylonian roots (Hippie term), so he was reluctant to strive away from his ultimate goal. However, these hippies were reluctant to let him go at the same time, because sometimes friendship means supporting what you dislike.

There is a lot about this movie that I actually really like, but my main concern with the film is that it does not translate very well as far as modern expectations go. Not only is it 35 years old, it even feels older than a ’79 flick. People like quality visually speaking, and this film definitely doesn’t offer a super pretty looking film. At the same time, there isn’t a whole lot of hippie-centered movies, and even less that view them in a positive light, and I have to give that credit.

Also, this is a musical, so you have to ask the question as if the movie is worth it based solely on the music. Here’s the thing, Broadway is different than film, so whenever they make a movie based on a Broadway play, there are some things you have to change in order for it to 1. Feel like a movie, and 2. Not feel like it’s drowned in so much music it loses the story. Some people may disagree with me on how I feel about that, but hey. How did I feel about the music in this film? I feel that it definitely gave you a good idea of how hippies see the world, but as far as really good songs go, there was only one. You can probably guess which one (Aquarius). Which would have been better if the film didn’t open up with their best song, because you know the rest is pretty much downhill from there.

The characters are honestly pretty solid. Hippies are generally stereotyped and meshed together like they have no other personalities when they really do. Again, they are a rainbow for a reason. Hippies come from all over, with different personalities, backgrounds, and baggage. Just like everyone else. The difference between Babylon and Hippie life is pretty much…just perception. Anyways, the characters here felt like genuine hippies, and they all had a different story to tell, which I found to be strong character development. This guy has baby mama issues, that girl is pregnant, this guy is battling between loves, friends, and honor. It’s all important and it’s all relevant, and I really like the characters here.

As this is a hippie film, you’re going to run into some trippy scenes. I’ve never known how to deal with or critique drugged-out scenes. I understand the relevancy and importance of covering your bases, but in a way where the audience can understand what’s happening, not feel like they are tripping along with everyone else. That, I don’t think is necessary. I know this is more of a personal stance, I just find myself watching the clock whenever those types of scenes show up.

The Good:

Hair is a really good source if you’re looking for a film talking about hippies the correct way. It’s also good in talking about importance of friendships, love, and war. Obviously the moral to the story here was make love, not war. I have to also add that the ending in this film was completely unpredictable and I love the route they went with it because that definitely confirms this film’s stance on love and loyalty.

The Bad:

I’m going to make this brief, because when it comes right down to it, it’s pretty darn simple. The film feels really old and there aren’t enough catchy songs. There’s only one really good song and that’s it. The film just isn’t attractive to a lot of people, and that makes a difference.

Memorable Quote:

Hud: The draft is white people sending black people to make war on the yellow people to defend the land they stole from the red people!


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