The last few weeks of writing Weekend Watch sort of dragged for me. I love writing about films, but it got harder for me to write because I had the distinct feeling that no one was really reading. This was do to a couple factors: First, I wasn’t really getting any comments on the blog itself, maybe a few here or there but nothing consistent. Second, when I would share it on Facebook even my own friends seemed to ignore it.
But last week all of that changed. Not only did a few of my friends respond to my post, but for the first time a reader (“Reg”) asked if I would review a specific film. That film was “Harold and Maude.” This was exactly the confidence booster I needed. So last night, with a renewed purpose, I sat down in front of the TV, searched through the Netflix streaming menu, and began watching “Harold and Maude (1971).”
The film focuses on Harold (Bud Cort), a rich kid, who due to his obsession with death likes to act out elaborate staged suicides in order to get the attention of his detached mother. However, when he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon), a 79-year-old woman with a passion for life, at a funeral, his life is changed forever.
This movie was weird, but a good kind of weird. When I first read the synopsis I was put off, but I found out that the budding romance between a teenage boy and a 79-year-old woman (although there are a few cringe-worthy moments) was actually very sweet. The movie was weird for me because despite being made in 1971, the issues it brings up (organic food) and the themes it deals with (self-esteem) are still incredibly relevant today.
One scene in particular that highlights this relevancy is one in which Harold’s mother is reading questions from a dating service — which, by the way, I had no idea existed in the '70s. Several of the questions proposed by the dating service touch on subjects that we as a culture are still dealing with such as the media over-sexualizing women.
After watching Harold slowly realize what it means to actually live, I couldn’t help but empathize with him. I also went through a dark period when I was younger. I filled my time during the first few years of high school writing dark poems filled with death and sadness all because I felt so alone.
Conversely, it was surprising for me to actually feel how infectious Maude’s lust for life really was. I couldn’t help but smile knowing she made the best out of her life, and lived it on her own terms, despite all she had been subjected to. In a sense, I admired her.
It makes sense that this film gained notoriety and eventually became a cult classic. The message of positivity is bursting at the seams. It urges the viewer to pay attention to the things troubling them, and encourages us to deal with our problems in a positive manner. If you have Netflix streaming you should definitely give it a watch.
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