Love Story (1970)
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Starring: Ryan O’Neal, Ali MacGraw, John Marley, Ray Milland
“Love Story” as a title is projecting an impression of itself as the 101 of romance, a literary portrait, and whether one sees this as the pinnacle of its pin-holed genre is down to whether you buy into complexity being spurned for a lineated, easy-beaten path. Even the strengths of “Love Story” detract from the modesty of the patent-like setup. Spearheaded by one of the most rousing, iconic film scores, the accompaniment is utilised rashly, with a primary intention to manipulate the slightness of the film’s themes and plug them with an aesthetic sense of grandeur. Even at its most wrenchingly sour the dramatic force of the film is weary, since it permanently appears to be working to finalise its characters' uncertainties and encourage universal acceptance of fate. “Love Story” is constantly delivering on Shakespearian elements of romance and tragedy, but without making any of its characters daring or interesting enough, extinguishing what it enflames almost in fear of making its audience uncomfortable for ten minutes.
The famously spoken tagline of the film, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”, speaks volumes. The people who cried during “Love Story” more likely did so in the way one would observe homeless, neglected animals on charity ads. The film is designed to collate thoughts about love as fateful and significant into a commonplace collective – of course romance can be tragic, but “Love Story” is willing us to accept its own shallow pool of thought as an honest concession. In the same vein as its characters we’re sucked into a regimental order of cinematic control, indoctrinated into a brand of weeping consumers neutered of senses, unconcerned with real people and real problems. “Love Story” is escapist fare, not in the least unconditional, and therefore somebody somewhere is surely owed an apology.