Thursday, January 21, 2010

Love Story

Harvard Law student Oliver Barrett IV falls in love with music student Jennifer Cavilleri. The fact that they are from two different social backgrounds (him from a rich and powerful family and her from the working class) doesn't keep them from getting married. Oliver has always had issues with his father and he defies him once more with this marriage, even if his father threatens to disown him. They build their life successfully and happily on their own until tragedy strikes. Love Story is considered one of the most romantic movie ever made. It tells of the love of a lifetime, the love between father and son, as "Love means never having to say you're sorry." It received seven Academy Award® nominations (including best picture, best director, best screenplay, best actor & actress and won one for best original score).

I saw this movie on TV maybe twenty years ago and didn't remember anything about it save the hype that surrounded it. My wife—who saw it when she was in high-school in Japan (where it was extremely popular)—wanted to see it again, so we got it on DVD. I must admit that I was quite disappointed. It's a rather average movie and doesn't mesure up to all the hype: the acting is certainly okay and the haunting music by Francis Lai is excellent, but the sound quality (particularly in dialogues) is bad, the story has nothing exceptional and the editing is often annoying (I'm not sure exactly why, but the cuts feel amateurish and I spotted a few continuity problems). There's definitely something missing in that movie. You feel that only half the story is told as they could have developped a little more the characters and put more details in their everyday life (at least another fifteen or twenty minutes). I feel like I watched a movie in fastforward. I didn't feel any emotions in the characters (I didn't shed a single tear, which is rare). Most of the hype came from the success of the book—which was written after the script but published before the release of the movie—and of the original score which became an instant classic. I was curious to see it again—and I'm glad I did—but the movie (and its cinematic techniques) didn't aged well, so it's worth seeing mostly for its part in the popular movie history.

Love Story. USA, 1970, 99 min.; Dir.: Arthur Hiller; Scr.: Erich Segal; Phot.: Richard C Kratina; Ed.: Robert C Jones; Art Dir.: Robert Gundlach; Set Decor.: Philip Smith; Cost. Des.: Alice Manougian Martin, Pearl Somner; Music: Francis Lai; Prod.: David Golden, Howard G Minsky; Cast: Ali MacGraw (Jennifer), Ryan O'Neal (Oliver), John Marley (Phil), Ray Milland (Oliver Barrett III), Katherine Balfour (Mrs Barrett), Tom Lee Jones (Hank). Rated PG / 14+ (Language, love scene).

Love Story ™ & © 1970 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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