Laura (Elizabeth Taylor) is a free-spirited painter who has a troubled son. He gets sent to a religious school run by a strict cleric (Richard Burton) who is both shocked and delighted at Laura's wicked ways. Their affair is a foregone conclusion, played out against the crashing surf of Big Sur.
The best part of the movie is the dramatic location of Big Sur, which, in 1965, was considered the place to be for artists and beatniks. The lax morals of Laura and her friends (including Charles Bronson) were pretty shocking back then, and fans rushed to the theatre to see Liz and Dick heat up the screen. Unfortunately, the dialogue is so dopey that the actors aren't believable and their exaggerated emotions fall flat despite Liz's shrieking and silly British accent.
The little subplot of healing an injured bird is sweet but becomes laughable when it nests in Taylor's hair during a torrid love scene.
Bottom line: It's campy, corny, and hammy, but the music and scenery are beautiful.