Hal Ashby’s Shampoo and the Blissful Ignorance of Sexual Politics: Review


There was never a more perfect time for Shampoo to come out than the end of Richard Nixon’s time in America. But the dangers in what was set to come were a warning that Hal Ashby may have also tried to say we were also too late to listen to. This is a film all about how America was set to change as the times were moving forward, but we don’t exactly know if it’s the case that they would end up turning out for the better. But it’s weird enough how this film seems to have gone from being one of the hottest films of its own era to fading from that glory, which is a shame because like the rest of Ashby’s 1970’s oeuvre, it’s never anything less than impressive. It’s the sort of film that I’m amazed was even made in its own era, especially right after Richard Nixon’s era had ended in America, when people were unaware or outright unready for what was set to come in the years under his ruling. It’s a film that mixes together that raunchiness with scathing political commentary, and it’s rather stunning how much it still manages to bite after so long. If there’s anything that really does need to be said, you can watch a film like this as being proof that it’s the sort of film that only Hal Ashby could have made – and it sums up everything that made his films so wonderful.

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