|Hard to believe that's John Travolta|
The reoccurring moral of the script is the power of choice. Everyone has a choice to be or do what he or she wants in life. Manero's family wants him to become a priest like his brother Frank (Martin Shakar). Annette gets told numerous times by Tony that she has to decide on whether she's going to act like a woman or a prostitute. Tony is also challenged on his beliefs by Stefanie and when his boss tells him to stop spending his money frivolously on the weekend. Stefanie even gets some of her own medicine thrown back at her. Tony friends are a gradual eye opener as well. Every single supporting/main character has a specific role to play when it comes to character development and it is handled properly. The problem is once the change in character occurs, the supporting threads and their respective characters disappear and aren't concluded in the most direct of ways. The only other component to the writing is some of the slang dialog used. Yes, the 1970s were a much different time. However, this still does not excuse the fact of using various racial slurs.
Other than this every other aspect to the film is enjoyable. The acting is competently performed. It is a bit jarring to see the difference in years when it comes to how much John Travolta changed. Also voice-actor Paul Pape has a role as one of Tony's goof ball friends. The acting and writing also effectively capture the mood and attitude of the era. As stated before, disco was a craze at the time and many people hopped on the bandwagon just because everybody was doing it. Plus with all the issues surrounding Tony, going to the disco was also a good representation of how disco was an escapist activity for a lot of people. For the people who took part, it was a moment in time where people would forget about their troubles and just enjoy the night. The cinematography shot by Ralf D. Bode fit well with the scenes too. Bode was able to acquire a number of odd angles and establishing shots that in some ways felt like the camera was prepping the audience just as much as the scene was.
Unfortunately for its time it suffers from racial slurs that are still not excusable and its subplots are well written until they aren't needed anymore leading to indirect conclusions. These flaws are thankfully made up for with the abundance of character development, appropriate acting, memorable music tunes and well-staged dance choreography. It is a time capsule that defined the 1970s.
Points Earned --> 7:10