Available on Netflix Streaming, as of 1/15/2014
Want to know what was on the minds of teenagers and twenty-somethings at the end of the 1960’s? The Student Nurses is the film for you.
Admittedly, I watched this film without doing any research and was quite surprised to find that it wasn’t the T&A lowbrow comedy I was expecting.
Cinema took a dark turn toward the end of the 60’s and into the 70’s, no doubt a result of turbulent times rife with political and social unrest, and The Student Nurses rides that wave.
The film features four leads each with their own story arc, and each a vehicle for a hot button topic of the day. In all honesty, this checklist of social ills kind of does a disservice to the film, though that might be more a result of watching with the knowledge gained from a future perspective. It may have played better if you were “in the moment” and the issues closer to your heart and mind.
What today’s audiences can take away from this film however, is a unique sense of time and place. This is something I’ve noted before when referencing films of the past, (The Van) and The Student Nurses does a great job of featuring the world as it was in the last days of the hippie counter-culture movement.
There’s a stark unwashed quality to the film, which heightens the realism and while none of the actors are going to win you over with their performance, the women come across as genuine and earnest in their portrayals. The men, not so much.
One of the highlights for me was the scene in the grocery store, I really love seeing these on location shots of real businesses, it’s such a different world than we live in today, and yet at the same time so familiar.
It’s not a film for everyone, but it works as a curiosity and a time capsule.