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Love Story

Love Story

By Patrick Samuel • May 22nd, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Paramount Pictures

Original release: December 16th, 1970
Blu-ray release (UK): May 28th, 2012
Running time: 99 minutes

Director: Arthur Hiller
Writer: Erich Segal

Cast: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal, John Marley, Ray Milland, Tommy Lee Jones

Ever been in love? Do you know what it feels like to look at someone and know you’ll never be alone for as long as you’re both alive?

Love isn’t quite what they tell you it would be. It’s hard work and over years I’ve come to realise it means so many things. It’s easing each other’s pain and increasing each other’s joy, but does it mean never having to say you’re sorry?

Few films have had such an emotional impact as Love Story. With its beautifully written screenplay, performances and evocative score, it’s one of those films that’s hard to forget. We watch it and go to pieces as this bittersweet romance develops between its two main characters, knowing from the start it’ll all end in tears.

Love Story

In the opening sequence we see Oliver Barrett (Ryan O’Neal) sitting on a bench overlooking a snow covered park and he says,

“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. The Beatles. And me.”

He then takes us back to when he was at Harvard University, studying for his law degree. He walked into the library and that’s where he met Jennifer Cavilleri (Ali MacGraw) and their love story began.

We sense almost straight away it’s not going to be easy for them, despite their immediate chemistry. Oliver comes from a wealthy family but he’s not very close with them. Jenny comes from a working class family and her father is a baker.

Though they’re both attending Harvard, their different backgrounds create a strain for them as Oliver’s father disapproves of the relationship. Still, they fall deeply and madly in love and decide to live together on campus.

When Jenny announces she has a scholarship to continue her studies in Paris, Oliver is unwilling to let her go. Love StoryHe proposes and two of them are married in a simple ceremony which results in him being estranged and cut off financially from his family.

Once Oliver graduates, he takes a job at a law firm; they get a new apartment and think about starting a family. This is when Oliver learns they can’t conceive and Jenny is terminally ill, though he doesn’t tell her at first.

As their time together starts to run out, Oliver and Jenny grow even closer. He wants to take her to Paris, but she declares all she needs is him and he even swallows his pride and asks his father for $5000, but doesn’t tell him it’s for Jenny’s medical bills.

Love Story

Lying in hospital, her last moments with Oliver are so heartbreaking. If you’ve ever loved, you’ll understand the fear of losing it and what you would do to hold on to it when it’s slipping through your fingers as it is with Oliver and Jenny.

One of the things which makes Love Story so effective is how well it builds the relationship. The banter between them when they first meet reveals Jenny as a smart mouthed, quick witted woman which compliments Oliver’s slightly cynical and rebellious nature. He wants to break away from everything associated with his father, while she maintains a very close relationship with hers.

We see Oliver and Jenny studying together, she watches him play hockey, and they frolic in the snow and bicker like couples do. We know it’s inevitable she will die as Oliver tells us this in the beginning – he can’t save her.

It’s a simple story, but the way it’s told – it reels us in to care about these characters and what happens to them. Francis Lai’s theme is so memorable that it instantly Love Storyrecalls the moment when Oliver finds Jenny in tears after an argument and she looks up at him as he tries to apologise, and she says “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

There was a time when I was young and foolish enough to think it didn’t make any sense; that to love someone means always being able to say sorry for the things you’ve done, but as time went by I realised I hadn’t understood it all. Love means being able to look past everything and never needing to hear ‘sorry’ before forgiving someone. It also means you would never do anything to really hurt them.

We hear those words again near the end when Oliver’s father apologises for the way he’s behaved. It’s shortly after Jenny passes away and Oliver says to him, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”, before walking away to sit on a bench in the snow covered park. Before we can wonder if his father really loved him at all, the focus is brought back to Oliver as the story comes full circle. We sit alongside him for a few moments more to grieve for what he loved and lost.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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