*Sarah* - wrote on 12/29/08
Harold is a depressed, death-obsessed 20-year-old man/child who spends his free time attending funerals and pretending to commit suicide in front of his mother. At a funeral, Harold befriends Maude, a 79-year-old woman who has a zest for life. She and Harold spend much time together during which she exposes him to the wonders and possibilities of life. After rejecting his mother's three attempts to set him up with a potential wife, and committing fake suicide in front of all of them, Harold announces that he is to be married to Maude. However, Maude has a surprise for Harold that is to change his life forever.
Harold and Maude, considered one of the great classic films of the 1970's and one of the great films of all time. One film which has always been on my "to watch" list and other films always got in the way. Luckily it was my DVD to be sent to me and sat down an watched it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it suprised me a bit.
Firstly, Harold and Maude feels way ahead of it's time. With the Cat Steven's soundtrack, often used in Wes Anderson films, you feel like it was made 5 or 6 years ago. It still has a "fresh feel" to it, which is why it's still being watched even today. The Wes Anderson like presentation of the film, makes you want to keep watching and really gain an insight into the livs of Harold and Maude. Again, Cat Steven's soundtrack is key to the freshness of the film for me.
The film opens up with Harold walking down the stars, with Steven's OST and attempting another "fake suicide." Instantly we can see that character's deep and troubled. far away from life with his Mother. Harold is presented as a deep and troubled man, but also with a constant pale face, again reinforcing to us as the audience what kind of behaviour that you should expect from this character. Harold visits the psychiatrist, who's room is depicted as a set from a Kubrick film, i.e- huge , spacious room which feels like it is going to move in on you. The dialogue with the Psychiatrist is short, and with a hint of black humour, which again instantly puts you with the character-you feel what he is feeling. the acting of Bud Cort, as Harold is key to the presentation of his character. For example we wouldn't have thought of him that way if it wasn't for his portrayal.
The performance and presentation of the character of Maude is the exact opposite of Harold. Once they meet at funerals, you can see they are similiar. Maude, the care free woman seems to have the mind of a 25 year old but gives Harold advice on life and how to get the most out of it. Harlold makes Maude feel like a younger woman which makes for c harming on screen couple. I loved the uneasiness of Harold and the attitude of Maude, which seemed to gel together onscreen instantly. One of my favourite scenes is where they re-plant a tree that was originally in the street-then they stopped by the police. One scene to look out for.
Overall, Harold and Maude is one film to discover in American cinema. Harold and Maude is a classic indie like film that we have come to know today. Reminiscent of Wes Anderson films and slightly different to the Graduate, the film is one not to get grossed out by the content of the film but enjoy the chemistry between one of cinema's odd couple and a truely inspiring film.
I can guarantee you'll be humming Cat Steven's soundtrack to the film after you've seen it