Monday, February 25, 2013

"The Way We Were"

"The Way We Were" is running on Turner Classic Movies at this moment.  I've seen it a dozen times and believe it is one of the greatest romance movies of all time.  The story works so well, the direction so elegant, the acting so superb, that I can overlook my subtle dislike for Redford's politics and extreme dislike of both Streisand AND her politics and enjoy these two cinematic characters.

The film works because it is an "Everyman" story.  It is a story that plays out a million times a year, all over the world.  It works because we know from the very beginning that the relationship will not endure.  And that knowledge breaks our hearts.  Intuitively we know that love does not conquer all; it cannot bridge the wide chasm of personality differences that exist between the two characters.

And yet, all through the film we hope beyond hope that love will triumph over distinctly different senses of morality, over politics, over personal interest and over varying expectations of success.

As these two souls are sailing the stormy seas of life they, at various times, cling to each other in a desperate need for comfort, to share love and life.  And, sadly, but truthfully, neither of the two lovers can claim the moral high ground.  Both have qualities that complement each other but those attributes will simply not balance out on the scales of compatibility.  Both have something good to offer but not enough to satisfy what each of them need.

One of the most heart wrenching scenes ever put to film is the last scene in the movie.  After many years apart Katie and Hubble meet on the streets of New York.  Each have entered the autumn of their lives having settled for a life style, and relationships that they can "live with".

But look into the eyes of these two former loves and lovers.  There remains an intense love buried in the embers, dampened by the many years of "settling" for what they can have, with a deep regret for a love that they could not make work.  You can see the angst of their failure in that final scene as Katie reaches out to touch Hubble's face.  That one gesture expresses the longing and regret of a million of us who were somehow unable to make love triumph over the vast differences in what we want and need to get through our short stormy tour through life.


  1. I was just bouncing between the O'Reilly and Cavuto shows on the two Fox channels becoming, once again, very depressed over a bleak future. I had to turn it off after hearing the numbskull has now placed us in our next recession, I didn't know we were out of the last one.

    I came here hoping for a quick escape. A few short paragraphs later, I am no longer looking at a very bleak future, I am examining a past filled with love unfulfilled. The frustrated memories are revisited from time to time, especially with the advent of social web sites. It may be love lost but love just the same and I am filled with the happy moments of what it was simultaneously with frustrated thoughts of what it could have been (I'm told it's the Pisces in me). It may at times be painful, but oddly enough it's pleasant knowing that those moments existed at all.

    So once again, I say thank you for the respite from the front row seat to the destruction of a great country show. I do know I cannot sit and watch actors and actresses who's politics are part of the destruction, unless I am able to laugh at their pain, and I don't think Vin Diesel with his biggest flame thrower could hurt bob and babs enough! LOL!

  2. I agree Ken..tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.