Love Story (1970)
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as Jennifer Cavalleri
as Oliver Barrett IV
as Phil Cavalleri
as Oliver Barrett III
as Mrs. Oliver Barrett ...
as Dean Thompson
as Mrs. Oliver Barrett ...
as Dr. Shapely
as Dr. Addison
as Dr. Shapely
as Rev. Blauvelt
as Tommy the Doorman
as (as Sudi Bond)
as (as Milo Bolton)
as Bystander at Harpsic...
as Clerk, Mount Sinai ...
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Critic Reviews for Love Story
Ryan O'Neal gives the character of the neon scion a warmth and vulnerability entirely missing from the bestseller.
The only really depressing thing about Love Story is the thought of all of the terrible imitations that will inevitably follow it.
Hiller earns our emotional response because of the way he's directed the movie.
Audience Reviews for Love Story
MAN! MAN! I didn't LOVE this movie, but I can certainly understand its cult status as the bitterest of the sweet, chocolate-shitting, daisy-vomiting doomed romances. I'm guessing it spawned other rich boy-poor girl-DEATH stories such as "A Walk to Remember," which is also schlocky but irresistible.
The screenplay boasts some nice zingers (the couple's catty meet-cute and the bad-dad-retort, "I won't give you the time of day!" "Father, you don't HAVE the time of day!"), formulaic but emotionally effective flashback structure ("She loved Mozart, Bach, Beatles, and me"), and clever match-cut storytelling (tense dinner with parents told over car ride home). Francis Lai's haunting score and the impromptu snowmance sequence are lovely wordless portraits.
One gripe I have is with Ali MacGraw. I find her portrayal of Jenny completely overdone. Many of her snarky lines would've been better deadpan or flippant. Instead, every sarcastic quip is bolded, underlined, and italicized. Jenny is a quirky character that I'm sure many young men of the 70s fell in love with, but she could have used a subtler actress. I read on IMDb that the director considered Ryan O'Neal a reactor, not an actor, and that is certainly true. All of MacGraw's overacting is tempered by O'Neal's natural movements, boyishly floppy hair, and teary baby blues that exemplify how every woman should be looked at by her man.
My other gripe, of course, is with the famously contentious line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry," and its implication in the movie's unsatisfying dissolution. Firstly, semantics: does the line mean one should never do anything so hurtful that it warrants an apology? Or does the line mean one shouldn't have to apologize because your partner already knows you're sorry and will forgive you? I personally like the second interpretation, and it would have made a better ending. Oliver's father is clearly sorry for cutting Oliver off for marrying beneath him. He gives Oliver money no questions asked and calls around to find out it was for Jenny's treatment. He has taken steps toward reconciliation and should be forgiven. I expected Oliver to say the line, then hug his father - indicating that he understands and accepts his father's repentance.
A preppie Harvard law student falls for a lower class music student.
I don't know if "Love means never having to say you're sorry" was a cliche in 1970, but it certainly is now. It's also bullshit. So is this film. The class difference between the lovers is explored only in generalities and cliches and so are the "hard times" they experience when Oliver rejects his privilege for love. in the third act, the film doesn't reach Terms of Endearment-level maudlin, but it's close. Compelling performances by Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw can't do anything to save the fact that the film says nothing new and can only serve as fodder for an evening filled with Haagan Daz and romantic reminiscences.
Overall, I don't know if it's because my own love life is tattered, but I suspect that in any mental or emotional state I would find this film to be sanctimonious nonsense that couldn't charm me unless I was drunk, high, wasted, wired, slammed, smashed, hammered, tripping, and shitfaced.
The best romantic drama of the seventies! It's sweet, tragic, dramatic, intense, and very modern too. I loved it and if you like sad romantic dramas you will love it too. I especially loved O'Neal in this movie.
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