Movie-a-Day Challenge: Harold and Maude

harold and maude movie imageThis post is part of my movie-a-day challenge in which I will watch a film every day for 365 days. Today is Day 111! You can see all the posts for this challenge HERE. To see the original Movie-a-Day Challenge post, click HERE.

Hey friends, buckle up for a movie review that’s about as unconventional as its characters! Today, we’re diving into the wacky world of “Harold and Maude,” a 1971 gem and cult classic directed by the legendary Hal Ashby . Let me tell you, this film is anything but ordinary.

First off, the plot? It’s wild, folks. We’ve got young Harold (played by the deadpan-hilarious Bud Cort), a 20-year-old who’s got this bizarre fascination with death. I mean, the guy fakes his own suicide as a hobby – talk about needing a new pastime, right? Think elaborate “accidents,” complete with pyrotechnics and melodramatic monologues delivered to his increasingly exasperated mother (played by the ever-glamorous Vivian Pickles).

And then, there’s Maude (Ruth Gordon), a lively 79-year-old woman with a zest for life that’s absolutely infectious. She’s all about living each day to its fullest, which, let’s be honest, is a mood we should all aspire to.

Their meet-cute? At a funeral. Yep, you heard that right. These two souls, each with their own unique obsession with death, meet in the least romantic of settings, and what unfolds is the most unconventional love story you’ve ever seen. It’s like, amidst all the morbidity, there’s this beautiful message about the importance of embracing life and its endless possibilities.

This isn’t your typical love story, folks. The age gap is wider than the Grand Canyon, their personalities clash louder than cymbals in a rock concert, and their dates involve stealing hearses and evading the police. But beneath the quirkiness, there’s a genuine tenderness that unfolds like a blooming flower. Harold, under Maude’s vibrant influence, starts to see the beauty in living, and Maude, inspired by Harold’s youthful rebellion, sheds the societal expectations that have weighed her down. It’s a beautiful mess, a celebration of nonconformity, and a testament to the fact that love can blossom in the most unexpected places.

Speaking of the actors, they bring this quirky script to life with performances that are nothing short of phenomenal. Cort’s deadpan delivery perfectly captures Harold’s morbid humor and his portrayal of Harold’s transformation from a death-obsessed introvert to someone who learns to truly live is nothing short of brilliant.

As for Ruth Gordon, well, she radiates an infectious energy that makes you want to grab your dancing shoes and hit the town (even if you’re, ahem, 80 years old). With her impeccable timing and radiant on-screen presence, she delivers lines that’ll have you chuckling and contemplating life at the same time. Fun fact: Ruth Gordon actually did most of her own stunts in the film, which is even more impressive considering she was 76 at the time!

The soundtrack was entirely composed by Cat Stevens, who was one of my favorite musicians back in the day. “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out,” has become my new anthem for those days when I’m feeling a bit down. It’s like Cat Stevens just gets me, you know?

One of my favorite scenes has to be when Maude shows Harold her artwork. It’s this moment of vulnerability and sharing that really hits home the message of personal expression and the beauty of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. Plus, Maude’s carefree spirit in stealing cars and uprooting trees in the name of environmentalism? Iconic.

But what I adore most about “Harold and Maude” is its fearless approach to discussing themes of life, death, and love. It’s a gentle reminder not to take ourselves too seriously and to find joy in the little things. Plus, the humor is so perfectly woven into the narrative that you’ll find yourself laughing in between moments of profound reflection.

Here’s a fun fact for you: Did you know that “Harold and Maude” initially received mixed reviews and was a box-office flop? Crazy, right? But it eventually gained a massive following and is now considered one of the greatest cult classics of all time. Talk about a comeback story!

Now, I won’t spoil the ending (because, you know, spoilers are the worst!), but let’s just say it’s as unconventional and thought-provoking as the rest of the film. It leaves you pondering life, death, and everything in between, with a smile tugging at your lips and a warmth in your heart.

Reflecting on this film, I can’t help but feel a little more inspired to live life boldly, to seek out the Maudes of the world, and maybe, just maybe, to attend a random funeral or two (kidding… or am I? 🤔).

So, if you’re looking for a movie that’s equal parts hilarious, heartwarming, and totally out-there, “Harold and Maude” is your jam. Just be prepared for a wild ride, and maybe keep some tissues handy (because even quirky films can get you in the feels).

Until tomorrow, keep it weird, keep it real, and remember, age is just a number (especially when you’re stealing hearses with your octogenarian crush).

Peace out, ✌️

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