Tag Archives: Ali McGraw

Love Story (1970)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Love Story</strong> (1970)

(On DVD, October 2018) With a title as generic as Love Story, it’s almost unfair to complain that the film is as by-the-numbers as it can be. It doesn’t help that its premise has been absorbed in pop culture and often regurgitated in grotesque ways since then. It doesn’t help either that much of the film now sounds like melodramatic tripe to today’s audiences accustomed to a bit more substance. Of course, we weren’t there in 1970, when the movie out-grossed everything else in theatres, earned no less than an Oscar nomination, spawned a best-selling novel and a sequel. What works for one audience may not work one (or two) generations later. This being said, even despite the dubious charm of Ryan O’Neal (Ali McGraw easily out-acts him), Love Story does manage to work once in a while: The banter between the two leads becomes increasingly effective in its own sarcastic way, and by the time the famous ending strikes after being announced in the film’s first line, we’re kind of sorry for those two kids. (Although I think that most are far too quick to forgive Oliver for not telling Jenny about her illness. Or, heck, her doctor—what’s with the malpractice?) The class-warfare thing is a bit overdone (with Oliver being, frankly, a big jerk about it all) and the film’s much-celebrated “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” didn’t make sense before watching the film and still doesn’t make sense after watching it. Other movies for other times—in Love Story’s case, its success may have been its downfall: So often imitated or derided that it doesn’t look as impressive nowadays.