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flick pick | Harold and Maude 1971
Directed by: Hal Ashby
Written by: Colin Higgins
Starring: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: comedy

Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: 
darkly comic, lovey
The verdict: ˝ / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis Twenty-ish Harold [Cort] is a bored rich kid who spends the majority of his days daydreaming about death. He concocts elaborate fake suicides (an attempt to shock his unflappable society mother), drives a luxury car that he’s converted into a hearse, and goes to funerals of people he doesn’t know. Which is how Harold ends up meeting Maude [Gordon], an eccentric, free-spirited 79-year-old hippie. While Harold enjoys funerals as a chance to share somber, morbid thoughts with mourners, Maude bursts in with a golden yellow umbrella, dressed in color as she celebrates death as just another stage in the magnificent cycle of life. Maude’s as in love with living – by her own rules of course – as Harold is bored by the monotony of the life his mother plots for him. Whether "borrowing" (some might say stealing) cars from strangers’ funerals, or digging trees out from public property to save them from city pollution, she treats the law, material possessions and societal norms with complete irreverence. She’s completely unlike anyone Harold has ever encountered in his life, and soon, a romance develops between the two, despite the nearly six-decade age difference.

Review The first person to introduce me to cult classic Harold and Maude was my conservative, devoutly Christian college roomie. It’s fairly safe to say that she was the last person I would have expected to be a fan of a very odd, rather black comedy about a 20-year-old who falls in love with a near-octogenarian. There’s no getting around the fact that the humor’s unsettling – completely deadpan, absurdly morbid, it centers largely upon the way Harold’s mom barely reacts to his frequent grotesque mock suicides. And let’s face it, no matter how open-minded you fancy yourself to be, there’s something a little jarring about the sight of a wrinkly old woman and a very young boy-man lying in bed, limbs entwined, post-sex. Shock value aside, though, Harold and Maude is just one helluva sweet movie, thanks in large part to the charming, believable performances by the adorably-freakish Bud Cort, with his big, serious, saucer eyes, and spunky Ruth Gordon. When Maude actually gets Harold to crack a smile, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your sweetie sitting next to you so you can give them a big squeeze. It’s one of those happy-sad movies that makes you feel kind of smiley, even while you’re trying not to tear up. — reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun 

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