Film Analysis: Harold and Maude

Topics: Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby, Emotion Pages: 4 (1451 words) Published: October 15, 2013
Youngil Yoon
Professor Virginia Shirley
English 300W
08 October 2013
Harold did not Ruin her Suicide
In 1997, the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress selected the movie, “Harold and Maude “by Hal Ashby, 1971, for preservation for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”1 This movie was dealt with black comedy and, at the same time, romance that leaves uncertainties in the ending which was significant at that time because it was unusual for Hollywood films making vague endings where the viewers expected solid happy endings or has clear noticeable thriller at the end. Not surprisingly, the last scene from the movie, where, the protagonist, Harold, throws himself off the cliff and weirdly comes out alive and dissolves into the plains while playing the guitar, sure left uncertainties and made many viewers argue about the endings. Many read the end as Harold throwing all of his old ways and embracing life, while others see it as Harold finally giving in to his mock suicides and killing himself for real. Similarly, answering a question, if Harold ruined the peacefulness of Maude’s suicide or made it more meaningful, is also very controversial and debatable. However, if we consider the facts that Maude mentioned she is always looking for new experience in life, said it has been all such fun when she was about to close her eyes, and the aspects of existentialism that she showed throughout the movie, it is conclusive that Harold did not ruin the peacefulness of her suicide and it is rather he made it more meaningful. Harold did not ruin her suicide because it was a part of her “always looking for new experience plan.”2 It is unarguable that having a love affair with a teenager when she was a seventy-nine-year old was a new experience. Maude mentioned during the movie that, “Harold, you made me feel like a high school girl,” which is a clear evidence that she enjoys being in the situation, where Harold fell in love with her and...
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