Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1970. Paramount Pictures, Love Story Company. Screenplay by Erich Segal. Cinematography by Richard C. Kratina. Produced by Howard G. Minsky. Music by Francis Lai. Production Design by Robert Gundlach. Costume Design by Alice Manougian Martin, Pearl Sommer. Film Editing by Robert C. Jones. Academy Awards 1970. Golden Globe Awards 1970.
Just try and resist this wonderful romance, you’ll fail completely. Working class university student Jenny (Ali MacGraw) falls in love with prep-school educated Harvard Law student Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) and they get married after graduation. They must contend with his snobby family’s cutting them off as well as their own struggles to get through their early marriage years until tragedy strikes and changes things forever. While the story may be something that would come to be a romance movie staple (as if it wasn’t already), what makes this one so great is the terrific screenplay by Erich Segal (which he adapted into a novel that got published before the film’s release) that is enhanced by smart dialogue and two very likeable characters. MacGraw and O’Neal’s irresistible performances, which under Arthur Hiller’s direction avoid maudlin sappiness, are so affecting that the last third will leave anyone with half a heart in tears. The Oscar-winning score by Francis Lai is now standard movie music, and the famous line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” has become the anthem of cheating husbands everywhere (just kidding).