Sunday, July 27, 2014

Family Movie Night: The Way We Were

Title: The Way We Were
Director: Sydney Pollack
Original Release: 1973
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Bittersweet.

The Purple Penguin asked before we watched if The Way We Were is a happy story. Bittersweet was the best word I could think of to describe it. "Does it have a happy ending?" she asked.  I honestly couldn't remember.


Katie Morsky (Barbara Streisand) and Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford) seem an unlikely couple.  She's a rock-the-boat student activist, he's a take-the-world-as-it-comes jock.  She's a Jewish girl on work-study.  He's a WASP boy on an athletic scholarship he doesn't even need.  And yet, they fall in love.  They get married.  Hubbell's writing talents take them to Hollywood where he pursues a screenwriting career, with only marginal success.  Meanwhile, the House Un-American Activities Committee is in full witch hunt mode, raising Katie's ire anew.

I still think bittersweet is the best description.  The love story is touching at times but ultimately very painful.  There was way too much kissing for our daughter's sensibilities. But long term, I think it's good for her to see that even if you land a mate who's smart, nice, funny and who looks like Robert Redford, it won't solve all of your problems.

A nice interview with Redford and Streisand about the film:

 

The writing and acting are both excellent.  The story is based on screenwriter Arthur Laurents's own experiences at Cornell and beyond.  The period elements are a lot of fun, especially the cars.  If I had more money than I'd ever need (I don't), I'd spend it on antique automobiles.  Late '40s convertibles would be the heart of my collection.  This was my second time watching the film, though I wouldn't say I ever need to watch it again.  Thus the 3 rating rather than a 4.

And, of course, there's the song, written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch.  If Barbara Streisand has a signature tune, this one's probably it:

20 comments:

  1. About the only thing I liked about the film was the song. Living where I do, there are lots of antique autos around. I wouldn't want one but I enjoy seeing them.

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    1. They're a popular hobby in Vermont, too. In fact, that seems to be common in snow-heavy climates. They were a big deal where I lived in Minnesota, too.

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  2. It was only about two years ago that I first watched this movie, and I don't remember much about it. I can't say I disliked it or that I loved it. It's just sort of there. Maybe it's because I'm in a healthy relationship that a movie about a depressing relationship didn't make an indelible mark. Who knows. All I can say is, "it's a movie."

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    1. I was a little surprised that I couldn't remember how it ended. I think it ends well in the context of the story but it's not a moment that sticks.

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  3. I can't remember if I've seen it at all. I would think that I probably saw it back during my Redford phase, but I'm not really remembering anything about it if I did.

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    1. 1973 was a great year for Redford - The Sting, too.

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  4. I saw this movie a long time ago. I enjoyed the look of the movie very much.
    But it was just OK and that is about it. I wouldn't watch it again. For me Barbara ruined the movie.
    She seems to always be playing Barbara and she is very aware of the camera. And plays to it.
    I saw "her" and not the character. And definitely her politics. So that might just be me but she seems to play "this" character in most of her movies. she is the poor ugly duckling again who gets vindicated.
    I keep watching her movies but "Funny Girl" was my favorite. She ruined
    "Hello Dolly"

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I knew Streisand as a singer and, briefly, Andre Agassi's girlfriend before I saw any of her movies. I would agree that she's not much of an actress, though there was no lack of directors eager to cast her during her heyday. This part was clearly written with her in mind.

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    2. hahahahahahaha, being such a tennis person, I adore that you know her from Andre Agassi. That just made me smile !

      cheers,

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  5. I admit it - I still haven't seen this one! arrrgh!

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    1. I'm not sure whether to encourage you or not. There are loads of better Redford movies to choose from (start with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and probably better Streisand ones though I don't know hers as well as his. There are better movies about black listing, too. Guilty by Suspicion comes to mind.

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    2. I like some of the movies Redford directed: Ordinary People and Quiz Show are the first to come to mind.

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    3. I really like A River Runs Through It, too. Interestingly, he's won an Oscar as a director, but never as an actor.

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  6. As far as writers having a hard time during the Un-American hearings, I guess I'll stick with The Majestic.

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    1. The Majestic - I haven't seen that one. I'll keep an eye out for it.

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  7. It makes me sad, especially when she calls him and says she needs her best friend. Redford was so beautiful then.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That scene is hard to watch. I've been there.

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  8. 'But long term, I think it's good for her to see that even if you land a mate who's smart, nice, funny and who looks like Robert Redford, it won't solve all of your problems.'

    :)

    I think what we sometimes fail to bear at the forefront of our minds and hearts is that relationships, especially the most long-term ones, are dynamic, not static. The thing about marriage is that you commit to this person at a certain age and as the years pile on, each of you evolves in unexpected directions. With a movie like this, the differences are obvious at the outset. In life, infinitely more subtle than art in my opinion, it's a given that the way you are is not the way you were.

    A very nice post on a classic film.

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    1. Absolutely. Relationships evolve just as the people in them do. Not everyday will be rosy and you can't blame all of that on your marriage, either. We do still bear some responsibility for taking care of ourselves individually. 20/30/40 years from now, I want to be able to turn to the lady next to me and say, "You know, life sucks a lot of the time but I'm really glad we went through it all together." That's why I married the woman I did. So far, so good.

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