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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)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Often mocked and rarely understood, the movement in communal living that blossomed with Flower Power in the '60s gets its most honest appraisal yet on film with Jonathan Berman's Commune.
  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. 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.
  4. 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. Jonathan Berman's documentary about California's famous Black Bear Ranch is a trip.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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