Love Story (1970)

Once in a while you find and older film that really stands out as a classic. While I was seriously young when Love Story graced the silver screen, it has stood the test of time. Directed by Arthur Hiller, it stars Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal, with a small part by a youngish Tommy Lee Jones.

The premise of the story is a tale as old as time: two young lovers must go up against their disparate social levels. More specifically, MacGraw is Jennifer Cavalleri, a concert pianist studying up at Radcliffe. Her father owns a bakery in Rhode Island, and she is solid middle class. On the other hand, O'Neal is Oliver Barrett IV, and he has a few halls named after him a Harvard. His family has "megabucks" and he is solid upper class. The classes clash when he brings her home to his parents, and she clearly is not good enough in their eyes (we haven't progressed much from Becoming Jane). We follow this relationship through several years as Barrett attends and graduates from Harvard Law, as he is disowned from his parents.

This movie is definitely a tearjerker. While we start at the end, we know that their love did not last, and Jennifer is abruptly taken away from him. While the disease is never stated, I would guess, based on that it was diagnosed from a blood test, her age, and the rapid progression, and no need for surgery, that it was an acute leukemia. Thankfully, great strides have been made in the treatment of that disease, and I have no doubt she would have done much better today.

This film is well known also for its musical theme. I've had "Theme from 'Love Story'" in my collection for years, but never knew where it came from. It's actually a decent song, although it's not exactly a rocking number.

Love Story is a particularly strong film. It moves well, with strong characters that are easy to care deeply about. It is well acted, and well paced. Roughly half the film takes place in New York, and half in Boston, with the outside scenes all shot on location. This attention to detail clearly shows through, and this movie shines from all the polish. While this is an oldie, it certainly is worth seeking out, and it's amazingly timeless. It's easy to see why it was nominated for 6 Oscars, and the musical score won an Oscar award.

Overall Grade: A+

Reviewed by Jonas

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