CFS shows a love of the ages

Matthew Bean

Romantic films: it is a genre that the movie-going public has spitefully labeled “chick flicks.” We all know how these films will play out as well. The cookie-cutter plotline goes as such: Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks or John Cusack meets Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan or Diane Lane, they fall in love despite the fact that they’re complete opposites or their families hate each other. Love conquers all, end of story.

Believe it or not, though, there are romantic films that refuse to fit that mold. “Harold and Maude,” for example, digresses from this mold as much as possible. The 1971 film revolves around the loving relationship between Harold, a wealthy young man with a penchant for faking his own death, and Maude, the 79-year-old free spirit who captures his heart.

This film has had a cult following for more than three decades. In fact, it gets mentioned in recent pop culture in “There’s Something About Mary.” In the film, “Harold and Maude” is cited as Mary’s favorite movie.

The film deals with serious issues, including life, death, war and religion. Yet thanks to excellent production, these topics come across in a manner that is lighthearted. At the same time, the viewer walks away feeling as if he or she has learned something important about human existence. This is due to the talents of director Hal Ashby and singer-composer Cat Stevens, who provided the soundtrack. The two manage to take a lighthearted look at serious topics.

The chemistry between the two leads, Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort, is impressive. I have seen few on-screen duos as convincing as these two. Combine that with an ironic sense of humor and intelligent writing, and you end up with a movie that stands out from the crowd, both in its quality and its message. So if you wish to see a romantic film that will make you laugh and cry, but you don’t want to see a chick flick, “Harold and Maude” is for you.

The second film in the CFS’s silver anniversary series, “Harold and Maude” will be shown four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m., and Monday at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for students with ID and $5 for all others. The Monday evening screening only will be introduced by guest speaker Heidi Rose, an associate professor in the communication department. Rose will introduce the film and then lead a discussion after the viewing period.

For more information, contact the communication department on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS web page.