I watched one of my long-time favorite movies this afternoon – Harold and Maude! It’s such a cool movie – Cat Stevens did the whole soundtrack (back when he still had mojo) and it’s one of those rare movies that’s beautiful and funny and sad all at once. It was made back in 1971 and became a cult hit at once.
Harold plays his part perfectly but is just too creepy for the majority of the movie for most people to get really attached to him. Prior to meeting Maude, his interests consist of attending strangers’ funerals, driving his hearse around, and faking new and exciting suicides.
Maude, his 79-year-old love interest, is wonderful and lovable. She enjoys strangers’ funerals too, and in fact, she and Harold meet on the funeral circuit, so to speak. Maude is great for many reasons, notably her penchant for grand theft auto.
But the best characters in the movie are the supporting ones.
The single most important character in the movie is Harold’s mother.
Mrs. Chasen is truly a delight, and seriously, if I were to pick a role model, she would be my first, second, and third choices. She has an impressive collection of wigs and hats, including a swim cap I would give anything to get my hands on. Best of all, this is a woman whose poise and composure cannot be ruffled.
Dating is no different, and why should it be, I’d like to know? Mrs. Chasen architects these social affairs, and when the day of the meeting arrives, she can be found making introductions, engaging Harold’s date in preliminary chit-chat, and providing on-the-spot coaching. Her excellent manners and gentle flattery set the tone for whole experience (“Harold, Fern supplies chicken feed to the whole Southwest.”).
There’s a runner-up character who could have been truly impressive, if he’d just gotten a little more screen time.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know I’m talking about the motorcycle cop! The helmet, shades, and mustache out-chic even Mrs. Chasen. If that guy isn’t a policeman in real life, then this is the most intensely accurate portrayal I’ve ever seen in the world of acting.
There are so many fabulous things about this film. It makes you love life a little more. If you haven’t watched it, it can’t be recommended highly enough!