Harold and Maude Movie Reflection

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Film

Document 1

Romantic films exhibited the idealistic affinities of both new and long-term relationship concurrently. During the 50s and 60s; the World War II period, the romantic comedy virtually disappeared ("Bound to Bond: Gender, Genre, And The Hollywood Romantic Comedy" pp 39). The current situation gave birth to a new sub-genre radical romantic comedy. The rad-com revived the genre by underlining the changes in courtship and marriage that were familiar in typical rom-com movies. A radical romantic comedy upside-down the layout, structure, peak, and conclusion of the romantic comedy (Miles 96). Harold and Maude (1971), is a notable example of the radical romantic comedy. The paper analyses why The Harold and Maude (1971) by Hal Ashby is considered the real instance of radical romantic comedy. The study will focus on the social context, plot, motifs, and themes in the film. The movie was produced during the early 70s by Hal Ashby after the second world war. At the time, romantic comedy had declined, and it was considered to be the “Me” decade. A period of preoccupation with self, self-analysis, self-absorption, and self-awareness. Harold at nineteen is of recruitment age for the war in Vietnam, and Maude in the course of the film reveals the tattoo on her arm that demonstrates she was lucky to escape the Holocaust. Maude also tells much more. The tattoo shows that Maude is a survivor of a death camp. This adds greater depths of understanding relative to her view towards life. She is choosing life, happiness, and love. The story revolves around a young man, Harold who is approximately 20 years old.

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Harold has a fascination with death, unlike most romantic comedy movies which revolve around boy/girl relationships. Harold performs numerous fake suicide deaths and attends the funeral. Maude helps the young man see the beauty in the world around him. When asked by Maude what he does, Harold replies “I love attending funerals” he attends the funeral of people he doesn’t know as a spectator sport. Harold can’t confirm anywhere, not even on the doctor’s couch, laying as he does with his feet on the headrest. In his detached study of finished lives, he meets Maude, who also enjoys attending the funeral, “I too love attending the funeral. ” Their paths cross as the two of them sit among the deceased’s mourners. Harold and Maude strike up a friendship.

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“In a week time, I will turn 80years old. That’s the perfect time to die, 75 years is too young, and 85 years will be too long for me to live. ” To Harold’s unbelieving despair, on her birthday, on the day we garner that Harold is to propose to her, Maude takes the pills that will end her life. Maude has created an untimely death, and now she’s embracing that death on her terms. Harold protests that he loves her. The school, not finding me in the chemistry lab, send the police to our house to inform my mother of my death in the explosion. I had sneaked into my room and watched the whole event unfold. ” He cries, the tears falling down his face in a new-found lack of inhibition and shame as Maude listens, describing his mother’s reaction to the announcement, falling as she does into the policeman’s arms and clutching them for support.

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Maude doesn’t tell him he's ridiculous; she doesn’t chastise him for torturing his mother. She doesn’t criticize his desperation. She decides to die when she believes it the right time and moment. Maude chooses merely to believe that eighty years was a purposeful life, well lived, “In a week time I will turn 80years old. That’s the perfect time for me to die. ” She preferred to die at on her terms, at her chosen age, rather than endure suffering as she grew older. Maude helps Harold overcome his fascination with death. Hal Ashby uses early 40’s music throughout the movie. For instance, the song in the first scene of the movie; Don’t be Shy, expresses the notion that anything or anybody can not subdue true love.

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Several tracks of music used in this film fit the convention of the radical romantic movie. Thus there is a look and a feel to Harold and Maude that provokes boundaries in a way that parallels the provocation of Epicureanism in the Classical world. Death is regularly played with by Harold in his suicide attempts, Maude gets about breaking all sorts of petty laws, speeding, driving without a license, stealing trees from streetscapes to replant in the forest. Miles, Tim. Masculinity in The Contemporary Romantic Comedy: Gender as Genre, By John Alberti".  Comedy Studies, vol 5, no. pp.  Informa UK Limited, doi:10.

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