Harold and Maude | Teen Ink

Harold and Maude

September 16, 2014
By Woolf SILVER, Raleigh, North Carolina
Woolf SILVER, Raleigh, North Carolina
6 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Sure you can teach people to be beautiful, but don't you know that there is a force greater than you that teaches them to be gullible?" ~ Bob Dylan

Let me just go ahead and say this is my first opinon (and somewhat review) before. I usually write short stories and poems. Readers are free to leave any feedback they want.

Now with that terrible introduction out of the way, let me ask you a question: Is romance with the youth of our times really "oppisties attract"? Many teens would say yes, but I'd have to disagree. With the young adult books that are considered to be fantastic and beautiful by many critics, and well, young adults, I decided to see if their was any pattren with these stories. Sure enough, there was.

If you're wondering what the most popular books of our generation have in common, it's the main lovers. That is to say they have very much alike with each other. In "The Hunger Games", the romantic leads are both put in the same horrific situation and forced to identify and trust one another. "Divergant" offers practically the some plot. "The Fault in Our Stars" is a novel that focuses on two teens with cancer. Even the leads in "Twilight" share emotional similarities. This isn't to say that these stories are bad (although Twilight gives me personal feelings of "blah"), but they are all very alike with how they construct their romantic leads. Wanting something new, I came across a strange old film called "Harold and Maude". 

Written by Colin Higgins and directed by Hal Ashby, this quirky and controversial film tells the story of two eccentric rebels, with VERY different backgrounds and attitudes towards life. Harold Chasen is a morid, yet wealthy, young man who is obsessed with death and "suicide" after a tramatic incident when he was in boarding school. While attending a stranger's funeral, which he often does, he meets Maude; the complete opposite. The 79-year-old bohemian artist shows Harold the way to a happier existance.

This is not to say they don't have things in common. Both share a love of visiting funerals and going to garbage dumps, and both despise authority and war (it was the 70's people). Their differences is what brings them closer. The themes in this are simple yet complex. The lovers are the ying- yang of life and death, old and young, happiness and sorrow. Yet, it's the lighter side, Maude, that influences the dark Harold to loosen up a bit. So, I'm not suprised when I heard that this now cult classic was at first tried to be swept under the rug and forgotten.

We still live in a country where sex is much more taboo than violence, it only makes sense that it's conntroversial for a young adult to be geniuanly in love with an elderly lady. Even I was slightly preturbed by the romantic scenein the movie. the two things that made me forget about being "grossed out" was keeping an open mind. The year of 1971 was innocencent, contrary to many beliefs of it being a drug-filled orgy. Technology today has given many young people subtle exceptations and premits them to lable others without knowing the whole picture. And that's the second thing that made me cahnge my mind.


This story gives an obivious message through just the trailer alone that people should be together reguardless of age, color, gender, religion, or place of orgin. I know that this sounds like some hippy-dippy crap andmany of you will now just roll your eyes and stop reading, but it's true. Does it have to be romantic love? No. But the last scene of "Harold and Maude", which I dare not spoil, gives you a genuine feeling of gratitude towards people that are different than you. That is not only a good lesson for adult love, but teen love too. 

Am I right? Am I wrong? All I can say now is go check out the movie youself and see what you think.


"Take it easy, but take it." ~ Woody Guthrie  

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