Posts Tagged ‘death’
Why I should have seen it already:
Harold and Maude is a cult classic comedy and one of the most culturally significant movies of the 70′s.
Now that I have:
Harold (Bud Cort) is a creeper. He’s favorite hobbies are letting his mouth hang open and faking suicides. Why he likes to fake his own death is never fully understood. He gives the excuse at one point that he would prefer to be dead. BUT since he exclusively does these morbid performances in front of his mother, they seem more like a big whiny-baby cry for attention.
Which brings us to the secret star of this movie: Harold’s mom (Vivian Pickles). Scenes where Harold is mimicking doing horrible things to himself while she simply refuses to let his disturbances alter her easy life in any way are hilarious. One of my favorites is an extended scene where she gets ready to take a swim. After lots of relaxing and preparing by the poolside, she eventually starts doing laps and the camera pans out to show Harold’s face down body floating lifelessly. The only reaction she gives is an eye roll as she passes him during a lap. These moments of comedy between Harold and his mom are thankfully frequent in this film since they were my favorite part.
On the other side of the film is Harold’s relationship with the 79 year old Maude (Ruth Gordon). Maude’s zest for life, art, and people manifest through the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property. Harold thinks she is pretty cool.
Harold’s mom gets busy trying to find him a wife through “Computer dates” which I assume is what they called Match.com back then. If Harold can’t get a wife he’s got to go to Vietnam with his crazy uncle. This is why all men get married, you see. Our fear of commitment is overpowered by our fear of crazy uncles in Vietnam. Unfortunately for his mom, Harold puts his creepiness to use and scares all prospective mates away.
Well, not all of them. One girl actually manages to out-weird Harold by being really into his fake suicide and doing one herself. She’s never seen moving again though, so maybe she really did kill herself…
Anyway! By the end of the film and hearing Cat Williams’ “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out” two times, Harold is completely enamored by Maude and plans on marrying her. Finally, Maude shows Harold the wonder of life and how precious each day is by (Spoiler) KILLING HERSELF.
The movie ends with Harold taking the insane teachings of Maude to heart and driving his car off a cliff. I know you see him on the cliff after wards playing his banjo, but he’s also wearing a totally different shirt and where did that banjo come from?
That’s right, he’s a ghost.
Which I suppose is a happy ending for him, but he’s probably bummed his mom wasn’t there to see it.
Really funny, but lacks any message it doesn’t itself contradict later in the film.
I’ll give Maude a pass for her crazy behavior because the film suggests she’s a holocaust survivor so she’s BEEN THROUGH SOME STUFF. Even though she kills herself in the end, she does seem to firmly believe life is great and worth living. She is just REALLY set on the idea of dying at the age of 80. You know how stubborn old people are!
Harold doesn’t get a pass. The dude clearly only does the suicide song-and-dance for his mother’s benefit. His whole demeanor seems to change the second we see him outside his family’s house, before he even meets Maude, which suggests the version of him we see at home is not the real him. Really, he’s just a confused 19 year old who’s only source of entertainment is bothering his mom. I would feel bad for him if I didn’t constantly want to punch him in the face.