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Three "women's libbers" try desperately to get away from men. But liberation has its price--one finds movie stardom on the casting couch, another ends up a Bowery wino, and the last bears a child to Mr. America.
Park Avenue, New York resident Candy Darling claims that she cannot stand the sight of men and cries out, "I want to live!" Meanwhile, in another apartment, Jackie, a schoolteacher, is serving her boyfriend a carry-out meal. A supporter of the women's liberation movement, Jackie complains that she is exploited. As proof of the inequality between the genders she offers the fact that only ten percent of women make over ten thousand dollars. In a third apartment, Holly, a nymphomaniac model, freezes in the middle of having sex and screams at her partner that she hates him and does not need him. Confused, he points out that he has given her an apartment and many other things, but she says that "women will be free!" Angered by her accusations, he slaps and beats her after which they continue having rough sex. As her boyfriend paints her toenails, Jackie complains, among other things, about the hole in the roof and his "fancy s&m friends," causing him to say that her "women's lib" has poisoned her mind against him. Taunting him about dressing in women's underwear, she informs him that men are inferior to females and becomes so annoyed that she throws lighted matches at him. When Holly visits Jackie, she is accompanied by the man who drove her there, who carries in a large plant that is a gift to Jackie from Holly. Angry at men in general, Jackie rudely orders him out and scolds Holly for letting a man drive her when Jackie had previously given her money to take a cab. Although Holly warns that people will think they are lesbians, they kiss each other. Continuing her nagging, Jackie then accuses Holly of believing she always needs a man around and warns her that people will think she is a "tramp," to which Holly emphatically asserts that she already is one. With Jackie's boyfriend lying on the bed between them, Jackie and Holly kiss passionately, as Jackie discusses the women's "movement" and how they need to involve females with more "class," such as Candy, who has money and Long Island connections. Jackie invites Candy to join her P.I.G. group, which is short for "Politically Involved Girls," and urges her to bring other society women, but Candy considers Jackie's friends "ruffians" and refuses. However, Candy attends a meeting in which Jackie announces to the P.I.G. group of men and women that their movement needs funding. At first Candy refuses to donate money, but later relents. Jackie also asks the wealthy, elderly Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who is attending the meeting with her niece, to put the organization in her will. While Holly has vigorous sex with a man in a wheelchair, other members relate their traumatic life experiences that involved men. At Jackie's urging, one woman takes off her clothes to show that she is free and then joins Holly in sex. Listening to the members talk, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, who had planned to leave her money to her niece, writes the organization a check, leaving the amount blank, and then dies. When Jackie asks Candy to get a donation from her parents in Long Island, Candy says that they have disowned her and that she has to go to Hollywood "where she really belongs." On another day, while the women are picketing, they have an altercation with a construction worker. Meanwhile, Candy meets with talent agent Max Morris and performs impressions of famous movie stars. After making a phone call, Morris offers her a two-week job in a bar, in which she can do her impressions while taking off her blouse. However, Candy declines, saying she wants to work in film. Again, Morris makes calls and offers her a two-week job that includes room and board, but, as it is not in Hollywood, Candy declines by doing an impression of Kim Novak, saying, "I don't need you or anyone." Impressed, Morris invites her to his couch and removes her clothes. When she becomes uncomfortable, he calls her "a dime store cutey" who will never make it. Afraid of losing her opportunity for stardom, she explains that she is not used to rough treatment and tries to make it up to him, inspiring him to admit she has talent. After answering an ad in an East Village newspaper, Jackie pays a visit to a muscle-bound Mr. America winner, gigolo Johnny Minute, and explains that she is twenty-one years old, a virgin and wonders if she is a "dyke." Although he usually only services men, because they can afford him, Johnny listens as Jackie says she is tired of being men's sex object and that she does not understand Holly and other women's interest in sex. She also informs Johnny that men are in a superior earning position and are unfortunate victims of a doomed culture, and that only one percent of the women make ten thousand a year. Saying that the experience better be worth it, she places one hundred dollars in his pants, but, to her surprise, he retorts that "girls suck" and has her perform fellatio. Afterward, she complains that it did nothing for her and, in fact, she does not even know whether she is still a virgin. Feeling exploited yet again, she exclaims that she now understands why there is a women's movement. Offering to try again, Johnny gives her an orgasm, which prompts her to exclaim that she now knows what women are fighting against. Later, at a bar, Jackie introduces Johnny to her group, but they are angry that she spent the organization's money on sex and force her to leave. Candy, while preparing to depart for Hollywood, meets with her father, who asks her to stay. Demanding to know why she should be chained to a husband and children or be second best to any man, Candy claims that she is a talented actress and wants to be a star. Defeated, her father says she is on her own now. Before Candy leaves, Holly and Fitzpatrick's niece, who cannot keep their hands off each other, visit Candy, who intimates that she had an incestuous relationship with her brother and consequently is ready for Hollywood. Several months later, instead of achieving liberation, a drunken Holly stumbles on ice and snow in the Bowery. Once Johnny spends her money and abandons her, Jackie is left alone at home with a crying infant. After performing in several foreign movies in which she did not speak, sing, dance or act, Candy achieves a successful film career. Some time later, during a photo session with Candy, a New York Times reporter remarks on her amazing climb to fame. When he mentions her former involvement with P.I.G., Candy credits Jackie with starting the movement. Catching her off-guard, the reporter then mentions Candy's incestuous relationship with her brother, the suicides of her parents whose funerals she never attended and how her career was achieved by having sex with key people. When he then insults her, Candy orders him out, but he pushes her down and kicks her. As soon as he feels he has collected enough material for his article, the reporter departs. Although the photographer tries to help Candy to her feet, he loses his balance and tells her she must leave, as he has another photography session scheduled.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||NC-17||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles Filmex screening: Nov 1971; Los Angeles opening: 17 Dec 1971; New York opening: 16 Feb 1972|
|Release Date:||1972||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color||Distributions Co:||Andy Warhol Films|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Andy Warhol Films|
|Duration(mins):||90 or 97||Country:||United States|
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