Harold and Maude

May 18, 2010
By TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
177 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be great is to be misunderstood" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

After doing some research on the film, I've found that there are two schools of thought when it comes to Harold and Maude. The first party thinks that the film is dark, twisted, and morally reprehensible. The second party pretty much thinks the same thing, but can see the film's heart through its titular characters and heartwarming moments. The film's certainly dark, but I'm surprised that some people would get so upset or spiteful about this movie. It's not anything like Apocalypse Now or Blade Runner which, in my opinion, are far more cynical and darker films.

The first of the titular characters we meet is Harold - a nineteen year-old obsessed with death. Feeling detached from his family, society, and the rest of the world, Harold often performs various morbid acts in order to garner attention, while also satisfying his own dark interests. These acts range from driving a hearse, attending funerals anonymously, and faking his own death in as many ways as possible. After spending a bit of time with Harold, we soon meet Maude who is, in some ways, Harold's complete opposite. Maude is an elderly woman who believes that life should be enjoyed to its fullest, even if it means breaking the law or "going above morality". What follows is a heartwarming tale of friendship as the two opposites bond throughout the film.

To me, this a film that has to grow on you. If you don't like the film within the first half-hour or so, you're bound to end up not liking anything that's going on. Even I had trouble getting into the film at first. Harold, though likable later on, can appear very arrogant at the beginning of the film - he's rude for no reason, he refuses any sort of psychological help, etc. However, as the film mellows out, we begin to understand why Harold does what he does, and the reasons for his actions are anything but arrogant. Maude, on the other hand, comes off as likable from the start. Though I personally don't agree with all of her ethics, her thrill-seeking nature serves as a nice balance to Harold's cold demeanor and the friendship they form is an involving experience to watch. Romance does play a part near the end of the film, but this film isn't about the romance between Harold and Maude. No, this film is more about an attitude toward life than anything else. Though it takes a bit to actually like them, Harold and Maude prove to be interesting and quirky characters.

Don't expect to laugh at Harold and Maude's dark humor though. This isn't a laugh-laugh type of comedy, instead relying on the pure darkness of the jokes in order to get its humor across. It's more of a 'wince-wince' comedy, and those can be quite funny as well. To elaborate, 'wince-wince' comedy would be along the lines of watching someone intentionally break a priceless vase. It's the awkward aftermath of the event that makes it humorous - not the actual event. Still, this is only my point of view on the matter of the film's humor. I'm sure that there are some (or perhaps many) people that think Harold and Maude is a hilarious roar of a comedy. I, on the other hand, think it's more a dramatic movie with bits of black humor.

The movie's a very engaging experience, which makes it easy to ignore issues such as pacing. It's much too fun to watch the dynamic duo wreck havoc by stealing public trees, motorcycles, and a variety of other things.

Overall, Harold and Maude is a pretty great movie. Its ethics are questionable and it takes a bit to get into the movie, but it's an otherwise fun, witty, and character-orientated drama/comedy.

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