Shampoo (1975)

shampoo poster 1975 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good character movie

Could have even been better

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Shampoo

Studio:  Persky-Bright

Genre(s):  Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  February 11, 1975 (Premiere)/March 13, 1975 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

shampoo jack warden lee grant julie christie warren beatty

Nope. Not awkward at all

George Roundy (Warren Beatty) is the Los Angeles hairdresser that all the women flock to. George’s full service often includes bedding his clients as he continues to lie to his live in girlfriend Jill (Goldie Hawn) about his extra work for tips. As Lester Karpf (Jack Warden) prepares for an election day party for Richard Nixon’s California camp, George finds himself tasked with taking Lester’s girlfriend (and George’s ex) Jackie Shawn (Julie Christie) to the party with orders to keep her away from Lester’s wife Felicia (Lee Grant) who George is also sleeping with. In twenty-four hours, George is going to find his life turned upside down.

Directed by Hal Ashby, Shampoo is a comedy drama written by Warren Beatty and Robert Towne. The film was released to positive reviews and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Grant) with nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Warden), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration. The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #947).

shampoo jack warden lee grant

The happy couple

I always kind of dismissed Shampoo. The concept was goofy, and it felt like other movies from appearances. When I saw the Criterion Collection released a version of the film, I decided to give it a chance…and I kind of enjoyed the sudsy tale.

The movie is a comedy-drama but there is a lot of focus on the drama. It also feels appropriate that the movie is called Shampoo since it feels like it is a cleansing of the characters, but it also has a soap-opera-eque quality to it. It becomes a who is sleeping with whom type story and the fact that all the characters end up at the same location leads to comic moments…but also it easily dips back to drama due to fact that the characters are rounded and real.

shampoo goldie hawn

I’m sure it will work out great between us

This credit can be given a lot to the cast. George as played by Beatty is the classic f-up. If he has two choices in front of him, he makes the wrong choice. His character is able to write it off in his mind until he’s confronted with it by the poor Goldie Hawn who is willing to throw her career away to be with him. Though he ends up with his great proclamation to Julie Christie at the end, he’s too late (and it also doesn’t feel sincere since Christie’s character hasn’t heard his confession to Jill)…it feels more like desperation than realism. Jack Warden, Lee Grant, and first-time actress Carrie Fisher are all caught up in George’s web as well as a family unit with no restraint.

The movie has that nice ’70s look. It is a California that was still affordable, but maybe not as pretty. It is full of people who shouldn’t be able to afford the homes they live in, but still can live relatively nicely on their salaries…so it is a fantasy.

Shampoo is a fun movie that is a character movie. The film’s setting on November 5, 1968 (Election Day) also factored into the script in that Nixon’s leaving of office had just happened not long before Shampoo’s release. It is another story of broken promises and hopes…just like those made in the movie.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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