A Simple Analysis of Harold and Maude

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Harold and Maude is a romantic comedy film that focuses on the contrasts of youth and age, apathy and energy, and life and death. Harold Chasen is a wealthy young man with an obsession with death. He frequently stages mock suicides, so much so that his domineering mother doesn't pay attention. To entertain himself, Harold goes to funerals of people he never knew. On multiple occasions he runs into Maude Chardin, an energetic octogenarian woman who believes in living life to its fullest. An unusual friendship is formed between them, one in which Harold is taught to open himself to his feelings and the world and play the banjo. Their friendship evolves into a relationship, and they have sex. Harold plans on marrying Maude, but that plan ends when it is found that she purposely took a fatal dose of pills and dies after being sent to the hospital. In his grief, Harold fakes a suicide one last time and then cheerfully plays the banjo.

In our society today (or even back when this film was made), it would be considered disgusting for a young man to have a relationship with an old woman. Now, for some reason, it is more acceptable for a young woman to be with an old man, but it is still gross. Yet, this does not change the fact that opposites sometimes attract. Harold is a person who has lived a good life. He's from a rich family, his mother sets him up on dates, and she even bought him Jaguar. In spite of all of this though, he is looking for an excuse to die. He can't stand life, and thus explores a bunch of morbid curiosities. Maude on the other hand has had it difficult. In one brief scene, a concentration camp tattoo can be seen on her forearm, signifying a large amount of previous suffering in her life. In spite of all of this however, she keeps a positive outlook on life, and is light-hearted. In meeting someone who was a complete opposite to him, Harold is at last able to embrace life and enjoy it. He finally cares about other people, and finds...
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