Cassavetes has long been successful at mixing his unique blend of documentation and improvisation, and this emotionally draining film is no exception. Lancaster plays the objective but sympathetic director of an institution for the mentally retarded. Garland is excellent as the excessively
involved teacher who finally realizes that her overattentiveness to one of her charges, far from being salutary, has fostered in him excessive dependence upon her. This film draws from the social stance of a Stanley Kramer and the institutional approach of a Frederick Wiseman and rises above their
judgmental attitudes to produce a wonderfully provocative and sympathetic film.