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USA 1971
Directed by
Mike Nichols
97 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Carnal Knowledge

Woody Allen could have written and directed this film but for its somewhat claustrophobic and sombre mood. Instead it was Jules Feiffer who wrote a study of two men from their college days just after WWII to mid-life as the 60s sexual revolution takes effect, and Mike Nichols who brought it to the screen.

Jack Nicholson is excellent as the self-interested misogynist, Jonathan, and Garfunkel provides a good contrast as Sandy, particularly in the college days when both men fall for glamorous coed, Susan (Candice Bergen). Move on 20 years and both men are successful white-collar professionals but Sandy is in a rut as a married suburbanite yearning for his lost youth and tempted by the consciousness-raising value of the peace-and-love generation represented by his girlfriend (Carol Kane) while the bitter Jonathan plays the field and pays alimony to his sexpot ex-wife (Ann-Margret).

The moral about male-female relationships in permissive age is somewhat overstated in a 70s way but the film is nevertheless a well crafted study of the characters with strong performances from the leads.




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