The characters entered Harvard in 1967 and presumably were to graduate in 1971, and it shows them as apparently the first class involved with the draft lottery, which affected only seniors. However, the first class involved with the lottery was actually that of 1970, and the movie accurately shows the first ball being pulled from the drum with a date of September 14 in the drawing held for the 1970 class. See more »
[watching the draft lottery on television]
Only men would come up with a draft lottery that uses balls.
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This film follows the lives of three friends (Davis, Allen, and Parker) as they attend Harvard in the 1960's. They meet, bond, fall in and out of love, and challenge the system during the time of social upheaval and student unrest. Their friendship is complicated when a love triangle develops, and it takes a senseless tragedy to bring them crashing back down to earth.
Like many films set in this era, most key events, from LBJ refusing to seek a second term to the rise of the far left terrorist groups, are seen through the eyes of the main characters. But unlike films like 'Forrest Gump,' the historical references feel more organic to the film, and not just points on a timeline.
The three leads are very good as well. Through the various ups and downs in their friendships and the world around them, Brad Davis, Karen Allen and Jameson Parker manage to communicate the changes their characters go through over the two decades this film spans. Even though some of the film borders on melodrama, there are enough interesting sections of the film that keep it from becoming trite.
But what I liked most about this film was that it doesn't romanticize the counter-culture. It shows the flaws in the idealism and that not everyone who was against the war was an enlightened peace loving flower child. But it also shows the good things. Like the sense of community, protest through art, and an embracing of love over violence. 'A Small Circle of Friends' manages to show that the hippies were individuals making their own choices and dealing with the consequences, and not some giant smelly organism that shared a collective consciousness.
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