Movies I love: Harold and Maude

I watched Harold and Maude for the first time last night. Netflix just added it to its classics list, and I thought I’d give it a try. What a weird, strange, funny, beautiful movie! I can’t get it out of my head.

In the film, Harold, who is barely in his 20s, meets Maude, a free-spirited woman who’s almost 80. They develop a relationship–and fall in love. Yet, despite this massive age difference, theirs is actually one of the most believable relationships I’ve ever seen on film. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so. The American Film Institute compiled a list of the 100 best love stories of all time. Harold and Maude made that list, coming in at number 69.

The film has a lot of humor, and most of it is very dark. That works for me, because I love dark humor. But it’s not for the masses, and if you have a mental illness, it could be triggering. Harold tries to kill himself several times–so much so that his attempts become a running joke. And here’s one of the things Harold and Maude have in common: they both love spending time at cemeteries (and even crashing funerals for people they don’t know.) If you find these notions troubling, avoid this film at all costs. But if you can find humor in very dark places, this film is one of the best.

Even though Harold and Maude is dark and strange, it’s also full of life. This scene is a great example. Among many beautiful scenes, it’s probably my favorite.

I may never look at a daisy the same way again. I’m so glad this film is on Netflix, because I may have to watch it again. And again.

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