The Way We Were could have been named, The Odd Couple. The film is a love story about two individuals who form an unlikely partnership. This is mostly because they are both so different. But in spite of this, their relationship feels like a real and authentic one due to the obvious on-screen chemistry between the lead actors and the fact that there is no Hollywood-style happy ending here.
The film is directed by Sydney Pollack and is a semi-autobiographical one by Arthur Laurents. It stars Barbara Streisand as Katie, a working class Jewish girl who is very principled and outspoken when it comes to politics. In college she is the president of the Young Communists League and she is often seen protesting or working as an activist and expressing her views and ideologies to anyone who will listen.
It is funny that Katie ends up in a relationship with a golden boy named Hubbell (Robert Redford). Hubbell is a charming, apolitical and easy-going jock who has dreams of being a writer. The film follows their love story through a few episodes over the years from their initial meeting and the reunion that results in them going out and getting married.
Katie and Hubbell’s relationship is pushed to the limits during the same period as the Hollywood blacklists or when people working in the entertainment industry were investigated by the government for being communists. Hubbell is forced to choose between staying with his “subversive” wife and being out of work. This movie tries to tackle some of this meatier material but there are a few holes in the plot and not enough time to cover this sub-plot in any great level of detail or depth.
One big drawcard for this romance is the Oscar-winning song by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch. The music from this title track is used as a recurring motif throughout the proceedings and the song would become one of Streisand’s biggest hits. The Way We Were is also a beautifully-shot film and it’s a pleasant enough tale so it is also easy for people to enjoy getting lost in this couple’s love story.
The special features include a film trailer (it is fascinating to see how much these have changed since 1973) as well and an audio commentary with Pollack. There is also an hour long featurette here and this includes interviews with many of the cast and crew, although Redford is noticeably absent. This special feature gives some interesting context to the film’s back story.
The Way We Were is an attractive film but it’s also one that is saved from being drowned in Hollywood sheen. It has two characters that feel realistic falling in and out of love, as their relationship proves to be one large rollercoaster. Streisand and Redford do excellent jobs with the material and they take us on a wild ride along the rocky road to and from love. Nice.
Originally published on 4 June 2017 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/way-dvd-review/
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