Harold and Maude; Hal Ashby; 1971= This quirky black comedy has become a cult classic over the years, capitalising on it’s unlikely but charming story. Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) is a quiet young boy who lives with his rich, controlling mother. He is obsessed by death and frequently stages elaborate fake suicides. While attending a stranger’s funeral, he meets 79 year old Maude (Ruth Gordon, Rosemary’s Baby). Maude is a free spirit with a lust for life which Harold finds attractive. They strike up a friendship which blossoms in to an unconventional romance, the course of which changes Harold’s outlook on life. As I’m sure you can tell, a relationship between a 20 something boy and a woman approaching 80 is hardly ordinary. Surprisingly the dynamic between them actually works. The media frequently presents sugar daddies and their young female girlfriends, so to see that relationship reversed is quite refreshing. It’s highly improbable and I don’t think it would work if Harold wasn’t the strange, awkward character that he is because most young boys don’t lust after octogenarians. But his obsession with death and boredom with life make the relationship work. Gordon is a great actress, truly conveying a scatter brained lust for life. She was accused of being a bit of a stereotype. Films like (500) Days of Summerand Almost Famoushave female characters who have a spontaneous attitude and teach their male counterparts how to grab hold of life. It’s not a new concept either. However I think Maude manages to bend the stereotype and make it more authentic. With the other films mentioned, the girls have a mythical, unrealistic quality which makes them attractive. But there is no one who can provide a more authentic argument for the positive aspects of life than someone who has lived it to the fullest, and Maude fits the bill. The film is short and sweet, although I could have done with a bit more of their relationship changing and developing. All of the film is focused on their friendship, but it’s still a little a bit hard to process when they take the leap in to romance so I could have done with a bit more time spent on the changes they experience. All in all it’s an oddly charming film. It has some surprisingly funny moments, particularly Harold’s many “suicides” and Maude’s anarchic misbehaviour, which lifts the film. They were obviously aiming for an inspirational message, but it didn’t 100% work. Even so, it’s a pretty lovely film to watch. The strange and oddly endearing characters will probably win you over, but as the film doesn’t spend as much time focusing on the romantic side of their relationship, some might find the premise too hard to cope with.