I found myself deep into weird (but wonderful) territory when I checked out WPL’s movie streaming service. I signed up for an account on Kanopy, selected Harold and Maude for my viewing pleasure and whoa….
I have a bit of a history with Harold and Maude. I’ve seen this cult classic several times over the years, and each time I see it a little differently. Weird, dark, satirical, and funny are just some of the adjectives I would use to describe it. Gradually though it morphs into something joyous and life-affirming.
I’m not sure I can do it justice, but here’s the storyline. Harold is a deeply unhappy and withdrawn young man who is obsessed with death and dying. He stages fake suicide attempts to get his mother’s attention (note, some of these scenes are pretty gruesome), drives around in a hearse and likes to attend funerals.
Which is where he meets Maude. She’s a sprightly 79-year-old free spirit who believes in living life to the fullest. The two form a tentative friendship and then Harold finds himself falling in love with her. Along the way Harold learns something about how to live and how to love; qualities he will need when, unexpectedly, he is confronted with the most important life decision of all.
Bud Cort (Harold) and Ruth Gordon (Maude) give superb, absolutely perfect performances, and the supporting cast is brilliant too. The glorious voice and music of Cat Stevens form the soundtrack to the movie. I can still hear the music going round and round in my head, lovely.
The weird but wonderful Harold and Maude may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But do check out Kanopy. It’s a great resource for people without Netflix or similar services, allowing WPL members to stream up to 7 movies a month (for free!). Thousands of titles are available – new, old, foreign, indie, documentaries, family films, animated films. Just sign up for an account and away you go!
– Penny D.