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Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: With its spotlight on the still surviving Black Bear Ranch commune in remote Northern California, this documentary is the first real insider look at communal living, and how seemingly small personal choices can create shock waves felt throughout the world. (Five Points Media)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. 80
    Amid the dozens of documentaries made about various aspects of '60s society and culture, Commune stands out for its ambiguity, honesty and sheer human clarity.
  2. A breezy, informal history of the Black Bear Ranch, a long-running California commune begun in the summer of 1968 and still in existence, offers the fascinating spectacle of observing people then and now.
  3. Reviewed by: Greg Burk
    A nice counterpoint is the soundtrack, with psychedelic trip music and bottleneck blues by noted wild-ass guitarist Elliott Sharp. It’s good to hear people talking about openheartedness without irony.
  4. 75
    The only famous person in the film, actor Peter Coyote, is an eloquent spokesman, but he was only a visitor to Black Bear; the stars are the full-timers, and their willingness to share their rich and sometimes painful memories is captivating.
  5. 75
    As we learn in director Jonathan Berman's fun documentary Commune, the ranch was financed by people such as musician Frank Zappa and actor James Coburn.
  6. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    Black Bear Ranch's legacy of environmentalism (the residents were on the forefront of the anti-deforestation movement), and the endearing long-term relationships it engendered, endure.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Ordona
    Unfortunately, producer-director Jonathan Berman only scratches the surface of daily life at Black Bear. We're left with many unanswered questions about the nuts-and-bolts of the place, even the basic social interactions and what it's like today. There are so many voices in the piece that we never get to know any of them; it's a dizzying array of opinions.

See all 11 Critic Reviews