Taking Off is a very compassionate, very amusing contemporary comedy about a NY couple whose concern for a drop out daughter is matched by her astonishment at their social mores. Milos Forman’s first US-made film shows him to be a director who can depict the contraditions of human nature while avoiding tract, harangue and polemics.
The plot peg is the flight to Greenwich Village of Linnea Heacock, who’s seeking something not provided in her home life. Lynn Carlin and Buck Henry (as the parents) enliven the many motivated and developing sequences: initial search for the girl conducted with friends Tony Harvey and Georgia Engel; a large meeting of discarded parents where Vincent Schiavelli turns them all on to marijuana; and a funny strip poker game at home which ends abruptly when the runaway girl calmly appears from her bedroom.
Henry tackles his first big screen role and achieves superb results. Carlin seems not an actress in a part, but a real mother, caught by candid camera, who doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry about a family crisis.