Day 325: Love Story (January, 28)

The musical theme is very famous... for sure you've heard it
Since 2012, when I've read After Dark, by Haruki Murakami, I've been nursing the thought of watching Love Story again. The famous dramatic romantic movie is from the year of my birth. When I saw it for the first time, the Western imaginary still enjoyed dramas like this, in which the mere mention to death was a reason to become emotive in a movie theater. 

Maybe I'm being too cynic, but I think today the dramas must be more than about just death. Tiny details of life has been originating amazing stories too, so the sensitive aspects don't reside sorely on big events. 

Seeing Love Story after something like 30 years, I think it fits both boxes: the big dramatic death and the small details of life.  Until this day, I thought that it was for sure only the first box, but I was surprise to identify on this film a beautiful cinematography, well drafted characters, clever dialogues. The love story is well constructed, honest, heartfelt. The two main performers are great too. Aly MacGraw shines, she is so lively and beautiful. Ryan O'Neal is more subdued, but a perfect counterpart to her.The drama is there, of course, as the famous line "Love means never having to say you're sorry". Still, what kept me in front of the screen was not that.

There are some good banter between the two main characters, in smarter dialogues that I would expect seeing here:

Jennifer Cavalieri: You look stupid and rich.Oliver Barrett IV: Well, what if I'm smart and poor?Jennifer Cavalieri: *I'm* smart and poor.Oliver Barrett IV: Well what makes you so smart?Jennifer Cavalieri: I wouldn't go out for coffee with you that's what.Oliver Barrett IV: Well what if I wasn't even gonna ask you to go out for coffee with me?
Jennifer Cavalieri: Well that's what makes you stupid.

Jennifer Cavalieri: You're gonna flunk out if you don't study.Oliver Barrett IV: I am studying.Jennifer Cavalieri: Bullshit. You're looking at my legs.Oliver Barrett IV: You know, Jenny, you're not that great looking.Jennifer Cavalieri: I know. But can I help it if you think so?(From Love Story quotes)

I've chosen those two above because they reminded me why I wanted to watch this film again. In Murakami's After Dark, a guy is showering a girl with undesirable flert. He barely knows her, she is not so pleased to share ther alone time at a 24 hour dinner with him. Their banter is very similar to the ones between Jenny and Oliver in Love Story. And this one in particular is very amusing (and a mistery to those who haven't saw the movie):

"Takahashi asks her, "Have you ever seen Love Story? It's an old movie."Mari shakes her head. "They had this on TV the other day. It's pretty good. (...) after Ryan O'Neal has slaved away to become a lawyer, they never give the audience any idea of what kind of work he does. All we know is he joins this top law firm and pulls in a salary that would make anybody envious. He lives in a fancy Manhattan high-rise with a doorman out front, joins a WASP sports club, and plays squash with his yuppie friends. That's all we know."Takahashi drinks his water."So what happens after that? Mari asks.Takahashi looks upwards, recalling the plot. "Happy ending. The two live happily ever after. Love conquers all. It's like: we used to be miserable, but now everything's great. They drive a shinny new Jaguar, he plays squash, and sometimes in winter they throw snowballs. Meanwhile, the father who disowned Ryan O'Neal comes down with diabetes, cirrhosis of theliver, and Meniere's disease and dies a lonely, miserable death.""I don't get it. What's so good about a story like that?"Takahashi cocks his head. "Hmm, what did I like about it? I can't remember. I had stuff to do, so I didn't watch the last part very closely..." (After Dark, p. 101/102).

Only the last part, Takahashi? His summary is something else, a movie of his own. But all readers and moviegoers use to create their own stories from the ones they read, see, listen. That's the beauty in art. Reading it, I thought I hadn't actually understood the movie, lol. I love this dialogue so much. I recommend this Murakami's book a lot, explaining to my younger friends that there's a catch in here. It up to them to find out what it is. This way, we can envision Takahashi in all his amazing colors.  

Looking for it on my notes, I found out another quote from the same novel, one that reflects my feeling exactly (I've already talked about that here in other posts, through other words):

"In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It's important to combine the two in just the right amount." (After Dark, p. 167).

A movie is a way to do both, I think. The perfect combination of dealing with things by ourselves and at the same time knowing that there's a valuable and true help at your disposal when it is essential.

Love Story. Directed by Arthur Hiller. Cast: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal,
John Marley. Writer: Erich Segal. USA, 1970, 90 min., Mono, Color (DVD).

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