Exactly what about cult classic Harold and Maude spoke to my high-school self? The twisted romance that blooms between a death-obsessed young man and a life-loving old woman? Saucer-eyed Bud Cort, who horrifies his mother by staging fake suicides? The earnest Cat Stevens songs that tug and punch at each dramatic turn, setting the benchmark for all twee indie soundtracks to come? Sure, Hal Ashby’s dark comedy is criticized for its wafer-thin characterizations and implausible—and creepy—conceit. But, let it suffice to say, as an indignant teenager, I thought the film was speaking directly to me. “Liberate yourself from the ennui of conformism!” it hollered. “Harold,” Maude says, “everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.” Did I listen? Only so well. But it slayed me as a 16-year-old, and it still gets me now.
- Showing at: Academy.
- Best paired with: Boneyard Diablo Rojo.
- Also showing: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Laurelhurst).