As a young woman of 19 in the 1973, this classic movie was one of my favorites. I lusted after Robert Redford anyway, after all he was already the Sundance Kid; but nothing quite quickened my senses like Robert Redford in a Naval uniform sitting in a bar. You just had to see the scene.
I saw the movie several times; but not in the past 15-20 years, so I decided to order it on Netflix. Many see this movie as a chick flick, but I believe they overlook its depth.
My feelings about the movie are still the same, but they have deepened as now I’m a later middle-aged, if not a younger elderly woman with different feelings and emotions. My dear ladies, this movie is far deeper than I remembered.
I remembered that it was a classic romance of boy meets girl, boy marries girl and…well the rest would be a spoiler so I’ll leave it out in case you never saw the movie. I was most moved by the difference in their look on life and the fact that they looked beyond this and became soul mates.
The real difference, though, is how I look at this movie now. I now feel that it is right up there with some of the older classics such as “Casablanca” or “Gone With The Wind”. Surrounding this romance is college before WWII, the war itself (though it plays a very small roll), and those halcyon years after the war.
You get a peak at McCarthyism, and the role it played in the lives of those in Hollywood. You get a peak at those moments before the war, when young people on America’s college campuses were either swimming easily through college or swimming upstream against war sentiment.
The backdrop, though, plays second fiddle to the magnanimity of the two stars, Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand. They are cast perfectly, and there are some wonderful tender moments as well as strident breakups that they both play perfectly. He’s a beautiful, good looking WASP; and she initially plays the part of a wall flower Jewish girl with bad hair. She’s strong, though; and he is never sure how to handle it, though that is what attracted him to her, initially.
I also have to admit that I’m much more conservative now than I was in the 1970s. I still get on my soapbox about issues that I feel important and some of them are social, but there is a part of me that realizes that life is too short to argue all the time. I also realize that sometimes we need to relax and enjoy each other and life in general. Barbra’s character is the flip side of this.
I didn’t notice it as much then, but I do now. I guess as I matured I realized that there is always a cause for negotiating and pushing, but one can overdo it. I think Ronald Reagan may have helped me understand this better than anyone.
I was afraid to vote for him in the late 1970s, but I did it anyway. I was so tired of seeing the entire country bickering over so much. I felt that we needed a change in leadership though I was a Democrat and didn’t think President Carter was that bad.
But Reagan had a simple message that said quit worrying about everything and just live. Boy did we ever in the 1980s. It seemed like the whole country just lowered their heads and went to work.
This movie made me remember all that. I think this may be one of the best movies of the 1970s. Do yourself a favor and see it again. And besides ladies, you get to gaze upon that blonde hunk that we all lusted after so many years ago.