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Archive for June 28th, 2014

By Pat Perry

The Way We Were is the story of a doomed romance between spectacularly mismatched lovers, set on wobbly political underpinnings.  With its intriguing but underdeveloped subplot about the Hollywood blacklist, it is – to borrow a phrase from Roger Ebert’s review – a film that seems to be about more than it actually is. But its enduring popularity and the status it has earned over the years as a romance classic can be at least partially explained by its trailer’s tagline:

Streisand and Redford together!

Star power covers a multitude of sins in Sydney Pollack’s romantic melodrama. Look too closely and you might be frustrated by the lovers’ willful obliviousness to their own incompatibility. You might be confused by the hasty, unexplained plot developments in the film’s third act.  You might be distracted by Barbra Streisand’s frequent slips from strident Brooklyn-esque speech into a carefully modulated and very grand mid-Atlantic accent. But you won’t be able to take your eyes off  her – or Redford. The two leads were both at the height of their box-office power when the film was released in 1973, and both their individual charisma and their chemistry with one another is palpable. Plus you get to hear Streisand sing the classic theme song not once, but twice – over both the opening and closing credits.

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