Film is not heavyhanded in its approach either to hippie life, or to what is considered ‘normal’ modes of behavior. Instead, there is a sympathetic look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Pic derives its prime value from an excellent screenplay. Story is relatively simple: Peter Sellers, an LA lawyer, turns on to hippie life as an escape from conformity and hypocrisy. Later, he finds out that human nature is independent of superficial environment, returns briefly to his former life, but winds up running away again.
Film blasts off into orbit via top-notch acting and direction. Sellers’ performance – both in scenes which spotlight his character as well as ensemble sequences in which everyone is balanced nicely – is an outstanding blend of warmth, sensitivity, disillusion and optimism.
Jo Van Feet is simply brilliant as Sellers’ mother, with Salem Ludwig also on target as his dad. Joyce Van Patten’s performance as Sellers’ pushy fiancee is delightful.