His Hangups are Hilarious

“Pray? No, I communicate.”- Maude Chardin

Even though this movie came out a dozen years before I was even born, I am still in love with Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude.

 

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I remember watching this film when I was about ten (if this tells you anything about the kind of childhood I had) and just being fascinated by Bud Cort’s character as Harold and his ever growing obsession with life, death, and love.

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If you haven’t already seen this silver-screen classic, here is a little wrap up: Mister Harold Chasen, played by Bud Cort, is a rich kid obsessed with suicide. As part of a daily routine he likes to perform these elaborate fake suicides for his mother, drive a converted Jaguar that now looks like a hearse, and attend random funerals.

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1971 Jaguar XK-E 4.2 Hearse Series II

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While attending one of these funerals, Harold meets Maude (played by Ruth Gordon). She is a vivacious 79 year old that is the polar opposite of Harold, however she still shares his interest in going to funerals.

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Harold is instantly drawn to Maude and her ironic outlook on life. The quirky pair begin to bond over art and music and love begins to swirl in the air – all while Harold’s mother is trying to set him up with a suitable partner so that he can settle down and get married. Of course, keeping it super classy, he performs various shocking acts of suicide and self-mutilation…one girl even partaking in this dramatic scene not knowing how to properly execute the sword through the stomach…bye bye.

So as the pair grows closer, Harold lets his family know that he is going to marry Maude. Well that didn’t fly with them and they are completely disgusted. Then, during Maude’s 80th birthday surprise party, Maude tells Harold that she “couldn’t imagine a lovelier farewell”. What?!?! Immediately asking what she means by this, Maude lets him know that she just took an abundance of sleeping pills and will be dead by midnight, reassuring him that 80 is a good age to die.

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After rushing her to the hospital and having no luck resuscitating her, Harold is so love stricken and lost that you see the Jag going off a seaside cliff. Don’t be sad though, after the crash the camera pans up to display Harold standing serenely atop the cliff, holding his banjo. Seeing the car aflame, he dances away while slowly plucking Cat Stevens’ “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out”.

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So now that you know the story, enjoy the trailer!

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