You know the worst thing about the movie THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY? Not the semen hair gel gag, or the clogged toilet, or the zipper in the ball sac. Nope, it’s when Cameron Diaz’s character Mary declares that the movie HAROLD AND MAUDE (released this week for the first time on Blu-Ray) is the “greatest love story of our time.” We happen to think she’s right, but all of a sudden it became a bit trite to celebrate this 1971 love story about a 79-year-old free spirited woman and a 20-year-old guy who likes to fake his own suicide to freak out his mom.
Fortunately, we happen to think that people will be talking about MAUDE long after MARY is no more than a vague fragment of a memory about Cameron’s sticky hair do. And, trite or no, we will continue to rhapsodize about this extreme May-December love story. Because, as Maura Kelly notes in a great Atlantic article: “It’s hard to find a subsequent film that depicts an older person, particularly an older woman, with so much dignity and tenderness — as someone comfortable with her age, who is sexually active and quite attractive. That’s dismaying because seniors who age naturally can be babes, as Gordon makes clear, and they do have sexual needs and lives; to omit their reality is to omit part of the human experience.”