Director: Sydney Pollack
Original Release: 1973
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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: