Harold and Maude (1971) – A Charming Romance Tale About Death and Suicide

“Harold and Maude” was ahead of its time. It’s a charming yet sweet movie apart of the controversies. You met Harold (Bud Cort), a rich kid and living with his mother. On the other hand, he has a heavy obsession with death. Harold likes to commit various kinds of suicide such as hanging himself or killing himself. He also did all that in front of his mother. While Harold minds his suicide, his mother is always busy with his own business too. It’s like she always watches it all like a daily meal.

The mother, Mrs. Chasen (Vivian Pickles), regulates the affairs of the kid such as having to get married or others. He tried everything to change the kid’s behavior. He organizes online dating meetings for him. After seeing an edgy show in the first sequence of the movie, it’s not a dark movie, to be honest. Harold demonstrated various types of suicide. Suicide includes burning himself, slitting his head, shooting his head, and harakiri. However, Harold remained alive and normal.

Aside from organizing Harold’s blind date, Mrs. Chasen arranged his son’s meeting with his psychiatrist regularly. He also tried to bring himself together with his uncle, Victor (Charles Tyner), a general during WWII. In essence, his mother holds Harold’s soul mate, career, and future so that Harold still feels uncomfortable with everything.

Harold has a “unique” hobby. He likes to visit funerals and always shown at every funeral. At a funeral, he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon). Maude is a 79-year-old grandmother and also has the same hobby as Harold. But, Maude is more optimistic about the way her point of view about life is unique. He doesn’t care about everything in her around, burglar many cars, and very happy with it.

Maude is free and energetic but it turns out, too, she captivates Harold. The two of them eventually become close friends until finally open to each other. Maude also invited Harold to introduce various types of new things where Harold had never found it. Maude’s presence in Harold’s life became a role model and a complement to him. Until finally, he married Maude, a young man, and an old grandma married to each other.

Hal Ashby’s “Harold and Maude” doesn’t have a melancholia atmosphere but there would be a lot of people who feel distracted with the romance. Ashby shows a taboo spectacle but is also different from the others. Even if you watch it in this era, you might assume that this is a unique movie or bad movie. Its dark comedy, beside is a charming movie, is one of the main elements. Suicide becomes the jokes but it’s not the edgiest thing you would ever see. But, there is an allegory and metaphor why Maude and Harold married to each other or why Harold loves to kill himself.

The soundtrack also blends with the saturation of the tone. There are “Don’t Be Shy” and “Where Do the Children Play?”. This is a 90-minutes movie. The surprises you see in this movie are also normal but not one of the normal things you would think. The dialogue between character and the chemistry with the protagonist and the heroine is memorable. The movie is a kind of meta too where Harold improvises seeing to the audience. Gordon’s Maude is sensational, agile, and “overrated”. The same as Cort’s Harold with more pessimistic, nihilism, and happily depressed.

Yes, love is blind. You don’t know age, race, gender, religion, or whatever when talking about love. The romance between young men and grandmothers in this movie might be a weird spectacle. Yet, this is an antique romance movie, a charming, with so many memorable scenes. The performance is impressive, the soundtrack also adds to the storyline. One of the best romance I watch especially this is the 70s.

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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