Thursday, 2 June 2016

I've Just Seen: Love Story (1970)

Love Story (1970)

Director: Arthur Hiller

I am not one for romantic weepies; I much prefer my romance served with a good dose of comedy, or if serious, in extravagant costumes. When girls my age were sighing over films like A Walk to Remember, I was laughing at Some Like It Hot. So I approached the most famous of all weepies, Love Story, with great caution. The result is that I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated.

Of course, there are huge problems with the story; we never know what ails poor Jenny, what with the doctor advising Oliver not to tell her she is dying, and then the couple never talking about it onscreen together. Also, at the very end, I had absolutely no idea Jenny was on death's door: she looked fine! The film also dated itself with its approach to Jenny's music career. There was never a question that Oliver should come with her to Paris while she studied music, oh no; she had to give it up so he could do law. I know that law is more likely to be a money-earner for them, but really, some imaginative thinking could have let them both pursue their careers.

Despite all that, I liked spending time with the central couple; they had more spark than I am used to seeing in such films. It was nice to see Ray Milland, though he wasn't given much to do. The famous quote 'Love means never having to say you're sorry,' which has always irritated me no end, actually worked better in context, referring to Oliver's guilt over denying Jenny a chance to do her music now rather than later. Still, it is a terrible line.

I liked it for what it is, though the Ryan O'Neal film to watch from this period is What's Up, Doc? which has a brilliant answer to the 'never having to say you're sorry' line.


  1. We'll disagree on this one. I can't get past my distaste for both of the main characters to enjoy the film that much. I found both of them unpleasant. In fact, the only character I really like is Jenny's dad. Really, Oliver and Jenny cry poor through the whole film (since he gets cut off), but he drives a classic car and they have a boat. Sell the boat.

    Since you brought it up, this movie coined the phrase "Ali McGraw's Disease" in Roger Ebert's lexicon. It's defined as a fatal movie illness in which the sufferer's only symptom is to become more beautiful as the disease progresses. Sadly, the disease isn't contagious in this case.

    1. These films definitely rely on the likeability of the central couple. I had expected them to be drippy and gooey with one another; the snarkiness that marked the beginning of it was a nice surprise. Jenny's dad is certainly the most real character. And yes, their 'money problems' are not that dire. I expected most of this silly stuff, so it didn't bother me so much.

      Yes, Hollywood is terrible at doing disease, particularly when it comes to young woman. As I said, I had no idea she was about to die! She looked fine.