A lonely man in search of meaning struggles to reconnect
with his estranged family after his father suffers a stroke.
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Directed by Bob Rafelson
Written by Carole Eastman
Starring Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush,
Lois Smith, Susan Anspach, Ralph Waite, Helena Kallianiotes
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson),
Best Supporting Actress (Karen Black), Best Original Screenplay
I tend not to enjoy movies without a point. I like an intriguing narrative peppered with memorable characters throughout. Five Easy Pieces started out as an aimless road movie, but evolved into a blistering family drama about expectations and finding meaning in whatever works best for you. Jack Nicholson proved right from the start that he is one of the greatest performers to ever stand in front of a camera, and his turn as Bobby Dupea is heartbreaking. This 70's classic exceeded my expectations and gave me another Nicholson performance to enjoy.
Bobby Dupea is a wanderer. He works odd jobs here and there, and he doesn't stay in one place for too long. He's chained to his girl Rayette Dipesto (Black) for reasons unknown, even though he seems to despise everything about her. When he learns his father's had a stroke, he tries to reconnect with his family, who we learn are all musical prodigies, and so was Bobby before he turned his back on their snobbish ways. Now, Bobby is forced to confront his personal demons and let go of some of the animosity towards his family before it's too late. It's a painfully relatable situation that still resonates with audiences today.
Five Easy Pieces is a critical piece of the evolution of New Hollywood. Films like this that told relatable, human stories in the mid 20th century were a direct answer to the new generation of moviegoers. It's a road drama that is built on character and themes like choosing your own path in life, making it timeless.