Commune - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Commune Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Commune" is a satisfactory documentary about the Black Bear Ranch which was founded in 1968 by Richard and Elsa Marley as a secluded refuge in Siskiyou County, California where people could reject the competitive nature of society, be themselves and work together in peace. Despite the collective nature of the commune, what was needed here is a single voice to give a straightforward history of the ranch which is apparently still going strong today, thus avoiding being just another cliche of the 1960's. At the same time, there is too much emphasis on the present day activities of the founders(gee, that Peter Coyote guy certainly did well for himself...) who eventually left the commune to return to the outside world. Even though the documentary is not as deep as it could have been, there is testimony on how women contributed to the workforce and the improvised healthcare.("The Business of Being Born" made a better connection between the communes and the rise in natural childbirth.) So, there was definitely more going on here than the grainy amateur footage of liberated people running around naked would attest to.[/font]
½ September 17, 2014
Well assembled and interesting. The big grin happens when they are raided and the fuzz confiscate all their *tomato* plants.
½ March 25, 2010
COMMUNE did the trick for me, even though it also seriously disappointed. I've been waiting for a long time for a movie that suggests the scope of our amazing intentions and our earnest dedication to creating a new world, with little to guide us, no formal leadership, and little to support us in the effort. I am a veteran of urban collectives (Washington DC, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland), as opposed to rural communes such as the one memorialized in this film. The difference is profound, of course, but the similarities are also remarkable. It's impossible to describe to folks who "weren't there" how uniform our precepts were, across the country and between venues, and all of it decades before the Internet! This movie kicked up so many memories, observations, questions, thoughts, and new perspectives, that I can't adequately summarize my experience with it, and it isn't over yet. As for COMMUNE's one huge disappointment? I had been longing to hear actual dialogue from the day. What was preserved here is silent (and salacious) footage clearly taken by a male of the group (and all of us feminists were very aware that sexism was the biggest and oldest bear of 'em all). When you consider that all we did all day long in the urban counterpart "families" was "shoot the holy sh*t," -- constantly analyzing, with thesis, antithesis, synthesis, and all that jazz -- well, that's a very large gap, and a misrepresentation of what the movement -- as I experienced it -- was all about. If you want an idea of how we thought (and talked and spent our time and energy), listen to a few of the women who were quoted from the present day. There are still glimpses there of the language we used and traces of the earnestness
March 11, 2009
Peace and Love are Only Half the Story

This was so informative and interesting (well, of course it was to me as I am into anything that has to do with the '60s & '70s. :P) This documentary was great because it had in-depth interviews with a lot of the people that lived at the Black Bear Ranch. What's even cooler is that the actor Peter Coyote grew up there and he talked a lot about how it was.
Ah, the beautiful people just enjoying each other. :) That's what it's all about. It was very refreshing. I can totally picture myself living that way, or at least trying it out. I don't (yet) believe this world is so far gone that we can't have a place where people can live happily and free with one another. People, especially the ones my age, may think the '60s where so long ago, but I think the opposite. There's so much to be learned from the past generations and I plan to keep the hippie spirit alive. It's not long ago when you really think about it, humans are humans, no matter if it was 50 or 500 years ago.

This movie demonstrates the positive and negative aspects of living at the commune. It has some awesome footage too. I recommend this to anyone who is curious about what living in a commune is like, especially one of the first seemingly successful ones.

*Peace...
½ September 17, 2014
Well assembled and interesting. The big grin happens when they are raided and the fuzz confiscate all their *tomato* plants.
July 5, 2014
I understand these people.
½ October 15, 2012
Totally missed opportunity to document one of the late 60's experiments.
November 26, 2010
Perhaps because of my hippy upbringing, there is a certain aspect of commune living that appeals to me. My better judgment tells me that the togetherness would probably drive me insane since I am a solitary person by nature. But I find the topic fascinating in the abstract and enjoyed this doc immensely.
½ March 25, 2010
COMMUNE did the trick for me, even though it also seriously disappointed. I've been waiting for a long time for a movie that suggests the scope of our amazing intentions and our earnest dedication to creating a new world, with little to guide us, no formal leadership, and little to support us in the effort. I am a veteran of urban collectives (Washington DC, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland), as opposed to rural communes such as the one memorialized in this film. The difference is profound, of course, but the similarities are also remarkable. It's impossible to describe to folks who "weren't there" how uniform our precepts were, across the country and between venues, and all of it decades before the Internet! This movie kicked up so many memories, observations, questions, thoughts, and new perspectives, that I can't adequately summarize my experience with it, and it isn't over yet. As for COMMUNE's one huge disappointment? I had been longing to hear actual dialogue from the day. What was preserved here is silent (and salacious) footage clearly taken by a male of the group (and all of us feminists were very aware that sexism was the biggest and oldest bear of 'em all). When you consider that all we did all day long in the urban counterpart "families" was "shoot the holy sh*t," -- constantly analyzing, with thesis, antithesis, synthesis, and all that jazz -- well, that's a very large gap, and a misrepresentation of what the movement -- as I experienced it -- was all about. If you want an idea of how we thought (and talked and spent our time and energy), listen to a few of the women who were quoted from the present day. There are still glimpses there of the language we used and traces of the earnestness
December 12, 2009
Super interesting. I don't think I could ever be a 'real' hippie... Not even close.
September 29, 2009
I recognized my neighbors! A naive commune in the Northern California mountains is VERY interesting to me. Unfortunately the interviews were not the most insightful; at least in the info given. The old hippies leading productive real jobs ramble about memories we don't really care about, nor gain a broader picture from. It's a very interesting idea though, about escaping America so to speak and living on free land with free people. If this sounds interesting at all you should definitely check it out.
August 9, 2009
Humans!!! black bear ranch 1968
March 11, 2009
Peace and Love are Only Half the Story

This was so informative and interesting (well, of course it was to me as I am into anything that has to do with the '60s & '70s. :P) This documentary was great because it had in-depth interviews with a lot of the people that lived at the Black Bear Ranch. What's even cooler is that the actor Peter Coyote grew up there and he talked a lot about how it was.
Ah, the beautiful people just enjoying each other. :) That's what it's all about. It was very refreshing. I can totally picture myself living that way, or at least trying it out. I don't (yet) believe this world is so far gone that we can't have a place where people can live happily and free with one another. People, especially the ones my age, may think the '60s where so long ago, but I think the opposite. There's so much to be learned from the past generations and I plan to keep the hippie spirit alive. It's not long ago when you really think about it, humans are humans, no matter if it was 50 or 500 years ago.

This movie demonstrates the positive and negative aspects of living at the commune. It has some awesome footage too. I recommend this to anyone who is curious about what living in a commune is like, especially one of the first seemingly successful ones.

*Peace...
December 27, 2008
worth watching. hippies are an entertaining marriage of idealism and naivety. best line: "some of us wanted to be more than a consumer and an employee."
October 18, 2008
An interesting look at what originally drew young "hippies" to Big Bear commune in the late '60s and how it has since affected their lives and those of their children. Great archival footage.
September 11, 2008
Clear-eyed, interesting documentary about a genuine free-love hippy commune and its residents. Watch as young, naked, and dirty idealists with wavy dark locks transform into white-haired, retirement-age pragmatists with real jobs and typical middle class lives. Affecting not just for its portrayal of the loss of innocence and erosion of youthful idealism but also for the glimpse at the reality of the dreams that so many once entertained -- and in some cases still do.
July 8, 2008
This is a good look into the hippy lifestyle and philosophy of 60's communes. A good idea only theory!
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Commune" is a satisfactory documentary about the Black Bear Ranch which was founded in 1968 by Richard and Elsa Marley as a secluded refuge in Siskiyou County, California where people could reject the competitive nature of society, be themselves and work together in peace. Despite the collective nature of the commune, what was needed here is a single voice to give a straightforward history of the ranch which is apparently still going strong today, thus avoiding being just another cliche of the 1960's. At the same time, there is too much emphasis on the present day activities of the founders(gee, that Peter Coyote guy certainly did well for himself...) who eventually left the commune to return to the outside world. Even though the documentary is not as deep as it could have been, there is testimony on how women contributed to the workforce and the improvised healthcare.("The Business of Being Born" made a better connection between the communes and the rise in natural childbirth.) So, there was definitely more going on here than the grainy amateur footage of liberated people running around naked would attest to.[/font]
½ June 26, 2008
As a wistful would-be communitarian, this made me feel a little more dissatisfied with my isolated but typical commuting, desk-bound existence.

I especially enjoyed the extended interview with Peter Coyote in the extras, when he spoke about what he would have done differently. I want to read his book, "Sleeping Where I Fall," now.
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