Director: Arthur Hiller
By Marilyn Ferdinand
The only thing bizarro about my contribution to the Bizarro Blog-A-Thon, hosted by Lazy Eye Theatre, is that I’m here to sing the praises of the greatest love story ever filmed that, for some reason, other people dismiss—Love Story. Says it all, doesn’t it. Simple, direct, generic. You know what it means. So different from, say, Enemies: A Love Story. Who gets that?! Is it about love, or is it about hate? Bad title.
Of course, love is a strong emotion, a trip to the moon on gossamer wings, a temporary insanity, a moment that lasts forever. Love Story seems to last forever—just like love—so that’s one sign that it’s great. Love Story taught me a lot about love and relationships, especially that wonderful scene where Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV yells at his new wife, Jennie Cavalleri (Ali MacGraw, coincidentally, the soon-to-be wife of Love Story greenlighter Bob Evans), and she runs out of the house. Ollie runs all over town looking for her. He opens every practice room door in the music department (and to put up with that opera, oy!, that’s love), scours the library—all day and into the night. Then he goes home. She’s sitting on their front porch, her pert, flaring nose red and snotty from crying: “I forgot my key.” “I’m sorry,” says Oliver. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Wow! That sounds so profound, so right. When I first heard it, I adopted it as my new love mantra.
I gave away my first husband’s Colnago bike frame to a scrap metal collector and didn’t say I was sorry. He threw me out of the bedroom for a week. I forgot Mother’s Day and didn’t say I was sorry. Mom refused to take my calls for a month. I stepped on my cat’s tail and she yowled. I found I liked the sound and did it again and again, and never said I was sorry. She bit me to the point of drawing blood and ran under the bed, but cats are dumb; she came out as soon as I shook her bag of dry cat food. So, yes Love Story taught me how confusing love is.
Love Story was the first movie that showed me how much fun it can be to play football in the snow, make snow angels, and eat snow with your life mate. When the first hubby and I were going to the Alps, I brought along a football. We went to frolick in the snow. After we got good and wet falling backward in the snow, I pulled out the football and told him to go deep. OK, so I didn’t expect him to go THAT deep, but the ski patrol was able to dig him out in under an hour, and the pneumonia didn’t last long. But I really feel like we bonded, and this time he wouldn’t let me say “I’m sorry,” just like Jenny! He saw me trying to form the words, and said “Shut up, shut up, and stay shut up!”
I learned that you can feel and look just fine and still be dying, so I schedule a check-up every time I feel great. It’s made me financially poorer, but I know that money can’t buy happiness. Jenny and Oliver taught me that, and that if I really, really need money, I can always hit up some rich guy for it.
Most of all, Love Story taught me the words I hope to say to my beloved second hubby on the day I die: “You goddamn, stupid preppie, it’s not your fault.” Where do I begin…