Harold And Maude (Film) Critique

1109 Words5 Pages
In the opening scenes of the film, the viewer is struck by the sound of lively music with the viewpoint of footsteps descending down the staircase. Post walking down the stairs the observer is paralyzed in his or her seat due to Harold’s shocking attempt at suicide, by means of hanging. These obvious surprises are sprinkled throughout the entire film, giving it the gloomy, comical mood that is recognized throughout the story. On its most basic level Harold and Maude is a seriously bizarre love story between a morbid 19 year old boy and a manic life-loving 79 year old woman. Bud Cort, who plays Harold, spends a good deal of the movie committing suicide (primarily for the benefit of his mother). He does this mainly to witness his mother's increasingly exasperated reactions. Harold "killed himself" eight different ways during the 90 minute film. When he isn't trying to kill himself, Harold passes the time attending the funerals of complete strangers. So does Maude. Ruth Gordon plays the free spirited 79 year old, who is the total opposite of the withdrawn Harold. She lives in a railroad car, spends her afternoons uprooting city trees and returning them to the forest, and in general is an all-round booster of the life force. She goes to funerals because there is a time to live and a time to die, and she wants to be on time. The Director, Hal Ashby further animates her with a yellow umbrella after a funeral to subtly remind us viewers that death is a part of life, and even makes several relations of her with breath. For example, letting him smoke from her hookah water pipe, showing him the yoga breath called “breath of fire”; letting Harold breathe an oxygen tank filled with flavors of snowfall. Most importantly, her concern, care and love for plants which shows the importance of a coexistence not only with humans, but also with nature, because plants and animals work
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