So I’ve opened my season of movie-watching. I decided to watch the films of New Hollywood, since I Apocalypse Now is a film from that era and this film is a real fucking masterpiece.
My dad adores the musical Hair, and I adore Milos Forman, so I finally sat down and watched it, and I must say that I was just a little bit disappointed, but it only lasted till the climax of the film began. Also, I can’t really start objectively judging, since I have watched the film only once, and I can’t normally write a critique when I have just watched a film. I can only write about the fresh emotions the film makes me feel.
I must admit, I expected this film to be more , how to say this, LSD-driven, tie-dye colored and psychedelic. Kind of like Across the Universe. Although this is an unlikely comparison judging by the timelines of these to films, both of them have a lot in common: The main character goes to NY from a totally different background, both of the characters get into the whole NY hippie thing, both of the films are musicals, one character ends up fighting in the Vietnam War. But Across the Universe is a lot more colorful and has a more energetic aura coming from it than Hair.
I shall begin by the things that I disliked about Hair. I was expecting a lot more action from hippies and the anti-war movement. The hippies: Berger and his friends looked a lot more, so to say, “hippie-ish” in the beginning and I really wanted to hear awesome speeches from them about the war in Vietnam and how moronic the idea of it is. Another thing I didn’t like was the fact the plot was missing some parts. At least it felt like it was missing some parts and sometimes, it felt like the movie was just a bunch of hippies dancing around for no reason. But this is all I have to say yet about the bad sides of Hair.
Now, let’s get to the awesome parts of Hair. I’m not going to talk about the total AWESOMENESS of costumes and hairstyles, since it will just make me super excited and the readers won’t understand half of my drooly writing. The actors and actresses were simply amazing, especially Berger and Claude of course. The characters were so well developed I never once doubted their sincerity. And Hud’s afro? I couldn’t look away from his Jimi Hendrix afro every time he was on screen. And Claude’s cowboy innocence replaced by maturity in the end of the film shows his short story the best way possible. In the beginning, he is just a shy Oklahoma guy who doesn’t even know how to talk to women. As the film progresses, he becomes less shy and awkward and more and more mature and manly. Especially in the end, when he realized what has happened to Berger and starts screaming in despair.
The end of the film deserves a separate paragraph. I’m warning you of the spoilers now. So I was getting kind of bored in the middle of the film, until Sheila received a letter from Claude and the gang decides to visit him in Nevada. Berger cut his hair to sneak into the base dressed as a lieutenant, which totally made my heart melt after watching Woof’s desperate cries not to cut his hair of and how it represents his freedom of choice and love and everything. And Berger cuts it of just to see a friend the met months ago and with who he spent only 2 days? That can make you cry a lot. Thinking about it, one can remember the “trust speech” Berger gave Claude in the beginning, when the gang were in prison and Claude only had money to get himself out. But he gives the money to Berger so he can get others out later. I must admit, I didn’t trust Berger, just like Claude. But he turned out to be just fine, and even more that just fine. He turned out to be the most loyal friend anyone can think of. Driving 5 days straight to Nevada, seducing a lieutenant, cutting off hair, staying at the Base so Claude could go visit the gang for a few hours. I knew how the film would end, or so I thought. I knew somebody would die, but Berger’s death just broke my heart. And the way he dies?! I swear I would have cried if my sister hadn’t been sitting next to me and doing homework. What I cried about the most was not that Berger dies, but the fact that he practically sacrifices himself for a friends, he was at the wrong time in the wrong place. Also, I just can’t imagine how someone can get over a friend that dies instead of himself, like it happened to Claude. It should have been Claude who had to die, but he’s alive and well and is with the girl of his dreams, while Berger, the obvious leader of the gang, is in the grave, buried. You simply can’t hold in the tears as “Let the Sunshine in” begins.
The songs are also really powerful and the singing and dancing reminds me of Jesus Christ Superstar. The musicals in the 20th century were something totally different from what we see now. And even though a lot of 21st century musicals are amazing and breathtaking – like Chicago, Nine, Across the Universe – none of them can get on the same level of emotional as the old ones can. If you think about it, all of the new musical films are just a replica, a lot more beautiful and visually stunning replica, of what we have already seen, so it just fails to touch us on so many emotional levels, except the visual. And that’s my final conclusion of having my brain dirtied by so many new films over the past few years and not acknowledging the genius of the past.