I thought I was going to a 70s cult film today when I went to see Harold and Maude for the first time and instead saw a love story that had me welling up in places. Who knew?
Second only to the surprise of the romance was how much I enjoyed the Cat Stevens soundtrack. You have to understand that Cat Stevens is an artist I have detested since the very first time I heard him sing and that feeling has never wavered upon additional listenings insisted upon by fanatics. I loved everything about the music I heard today. What gives?
Apparently in 1971, girls majored in poli-sci and minored in home-ec ("So I have something to fall back on") and nurses still wore nursing caps. A smiling picture of Nixon hung in a military office and a somber picture of Freud in a psychiatrist's.
To find him a bride, Harold's mother contacted The National Computer Dating Service, which must have sounded very clinical and futuristic at the time. Maude blamed her reckless driving on the new-fangled power steering. VW bugs were everywhere.
Age discrepancy aside, the movie was one of the sweetest romances I've ever seen; her optimism and joie de vivre were so attractive that it wasn't hard to see how her age became a non-issue to him.
There are so many ways to convey two people falling for each other on screen, but the ones used in this film were wonderfully offbeat. Smoking a hookah, waltzing to Strauss, having a picnic at a demolition site all conveyed the increasing pleasure they were taking in each other's company.
And, yes, it's almost Valentine's Day and it's been almost three years since I had a Valentine, so maybe I'm just ripe for a good romance. Or maybe it's that now that I'm dating, it's tempting to hope that something along those romantic lines is opening up for me.
And for the record, I can only hope that someone wants me to model nude for them when I'm 79, like Maude did. Because, you know, I will.