Oliver's Story (1978) Poster

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Oliver begins again
bkoganbing21 January 2017
America's favorite romantic couple back in the 70s were definitely Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw from Love Story. I think Oliver's Story was a film that Paramount had to remake because I think America wanted to know how Oliver Barrett carried on without Jenny Cavelleri.

That's where Oliver's Story begins, he's become the successful lawyer that he strived for. But he's empty, Jenny so completed him that everything and everyone else is measured by her. That is true of Candice Bergen, a successful owner of a textile company who O'Neal tries to get something going with.

Watching the film they'll be several different schools of thought as to whether things might have worked out between O'Neal and Bergen. It is clear that O'Neal just won't reconcile himself that life goes on and as long as he's fogging a mirror he's part of life.

One thing I did like in this film is the reconciliation between O'Neal and his father Ray Milland, the only two who repeated their roles from Love Story. Those scenes in the mill where the Barrett family fortune was made are quite well done, best part of Oliver's Story by far.

It's not Love Story by any means, but Oliver's Story is a decent enough film on its own merits and doesn't deserve the trashing it got.
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Time flies like an arrow
Emil Bakkum16 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Oliver's Story is a film with an entertaining narrative, appealing pictures, and quiet music. Although it is an amusing experience, do not expect action. For it is better to have loafed and lost than not to have loafed at all. However, the story also contains food for thought, and these moments add extra value. For instance, although the story can be enjoyed as a stand-alone film, obviously it is an elaboration on Love Story. It is its sequel. The combination gives more depth to the Oliver character. Oliver's Story analyses the dawning love of a couple, just like Love Story. The Oliver in Love Story marries below his own social class. Jenny transforms into a slovenly housewife, who is married to a couch that burps. She is saved from this fate only by a premature death. On the other hand, the Oliver in the sequel falls in love with a successful career woman, Marcy. Whereas in Love Story his sport engagements with friends are meant to escape from the rut of his marriage, in Oliver's Story they serve to approach his beloved. Sweat is sexy on her. Nevertheless, the latter affair is doomed from the start. Oliver can not accept a partner, who is his equal in status. He wants to come first. When she says: "I need some space", he hears "without you in it". Whereas Oliver in Love Story is traumatized by the relation with his father, in the sequel he is depressed by the untimely death of Jenny. Again his past haunts him. Fruit flies like a banana, but time flies like an arrow. The consequences are similar: occasional emotional outbursts. Even the attempts of his psychiatrist do not improve his mood. Oliver's Story also elaborates on his profession. Whereas in Love Story he is a business lawyer, in the sequel he is dedicated to social lawsuits. He complains that ninety nine percent of the lawyers give him a bad name. Tensions arise because Marcy imports her textiles from Hong Kong, whereas Oliver wants to keep his old and noncompetitive Barrett weaving-mill in the USA. In case that you enjoy symbolism: a Jenny is a spinning machine. Evidently the character of Oliver is somewhat schizophrenic: charming, irritating, conservative, unbalanced, and ill-tempered. His ego is enormous. He may not be an island, but he is a pretty long peninsula. Still, both films are fascinating. They make you ponder, and that is the hallmark of quality.
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Run of the mill, but better than its rating indicates
vincentlynch-moonoi10 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Of course, "love Story" was a phenomenon...which I haven't managed to see since it first came out. It was a guarantee that "Oliver's Story" would be less...and it is...but I do think it gets a bit of bum rap.

The story is simple -- a young widower is depressed after his wife's death, and he is having trouble getting back into life. Is it special? No. Does it represent things that real people go through? Yes.

I remember really liking O'Neal...before his career collapsed. And of course, his personal life didn't help things any. But, at the time of this movie, he was still rather enjoyable on screen.

And then there is Candice Bergen. I forgot how much I liked her. She's right for this role.

Ray Milland is back as the father, but has little to do. There is a nice scene between O'Neal and Milland toward the end of the film, but it's O'Neal who has the best of it.

I found the ending to be a downer. Not that it was an unhappy ending, but just not the ending I think most viewers expected and wanted.

A fairly good movie; nothing special.
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Effective Late 70's Drama/Romance With Handsome Leads.
JasonT41314 January 2015
Very good little film, picked it a VHS copy at nearby thrift store for a dollar or less. I had never seen LOVE STORY so I can't compared it to that, rather I'm reviewing this as a stand alone film. The relationship between Ryan O'Neal and Candice Bergen was realistic and loaded with clever dialogue. They way they meet and court was unique as well. This film was made while Ryan was still at his youthful peak and he is fun to watch. There is even a shower scene where you can see him nude from the backside which is a hoot. All in all, not an unpleasant way to spend an hour and a half or so. Another film to add to the excellent reservoir of 70's cinema.
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Love Means Never Apologizing For Your Money.
tex-4214 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Oliver's Story is a movie in desperate need of a purpose. Oliver, still grieving for Jenny after her death, refuses to move on with his life, despite nearly two years having passed since she died. He throws himself into his work helping the poor and rebuffs his friends' efforts to set him up with new people.

By chance he meets Marcie Bonwit (Candice Bergen), an heiress to the Bonwit Teller Department Store fortune. They get together, he seems to loosen up and enjoy himself, but Oliver is held back by his guilt over Jenny. Eventually Marcie tires of feeling as if she is competing with a dead woman, and breaks things off. In the background, are Oliver's father's efforts to get him to take over the family business and accept the responsibility that comes with being in the family. Somehow the break up of his relationship with Marcie inspires Oliver to finally move on with his life and accept his place as a WASP.

There are so many problems with this movie. The biggest issue is that Bergen and O'Neal have very little chemistry, and their relationship feels forced and pointless. She is like the anti-Jenny to the point she is telling Oliver to revel in his wealth. The other big issue is the total lack of a storyline. Oliver spends most of the movie moping, gets together with Marcie, mopes some more and then reconciles with his father. In between all this, very little happens. Marcie is a poorly developed character, and we are given no reason as to why she would try to invest so heavily in a relationship with Oliver. Overall, it's never clear what we are supposed to get from this movie, and it suffers heavily from that.
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Unnecessary sequel
Wizard-84 July 2010
The (belated) sequel to "Love Story", "Oliver's Story" was rejected by audiences at the box office, and it's all but forgotten today, even with it being released on both VHS and DVD. Watching it, it's pretty easy to figure out why. For one thing, it's hard to sympathize with Oliver; while he has lost his wife, he is rich and with a good job, and he just silently mopes around instead of expressing anguish or sadness. Not surprisingly, O'Neal performance is lacklustre. While Candace Bergman actually give a better performance than most of the other movies she made in the '70s, she lacks spark and spirit. What on earth do these two people see in each other? And the end of the movie is very unsatisfying, leaving the characters' plot threads in the air. The only real good thing about the movie is Ray Milland, though he only makes a few brief appearances.
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Oliver's sob-story
Tracy_Terry_Moore24 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
'Oliver Barrett' (Ryan O'Neal) is still pining over his late wife 'Jenny' (Ali MacGraw) of 8 years and he's really beginning to become a pain in the butt.

Fortunately, Oliver meets a chick named 'Marcie' (Candace Bergen) in the park who just might be able to get his mind off of things if she can get past his constant references to Jenny, but its not easy and even a trip to Hong Kong can't stop Oliver from driving Marcie up the Chinese wall.

Not as bad as purported to be by critics, this late 'sequel' is OK with a gentler twist on the relationship between Oliver and his father (Ray Milland).
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Come on Oliver - - - - - get over it!
Graham Watson13 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Although this sequel was released 8 years after the original 1970 'tear jerker', I presume that as far as the story goes it's only 2 or 3 years or so along, eight years would be too long. Despite the fact that Ryan O'Neal was pushing 40 his boyish looks and good shape allow him to pull it off as the grieving widower whose just graduated from Harvard law school.

Oliver Barrett not only is guilt ridden about the fact that he is alive and his sweetheart is dead, but following on from the original he resents his privileged up bringing and the family wealth. However, despite regular visits to the Doctor to straighten out his head he finally grows up when he learns that his ever suffering father who he resents is not perhaps the rotter that he thought he was. Junior Barrett learns that his dad kept poring money into the mill despite it losing money much to adulation and respect from the employees. Loyalty and the need to continue the family tradition are more important than liquidating the mill and swindling the workers out of their hard earned retirement savings!

It's not the worst movie in world but it's not that good either. With the original although there was sadness at the end there never the less was a sense of youthful optimism and happiness that probably reflected the free spirited days of the late 60's and early 70's. Olivers story perhaps only epitomized the malaise that gripped the late 1970's as the movie seemed to lack spirit and purpose. Made too long after the original to make any real impact, OK to watch on a dull Sunday afternoon if there is nothing else to do!
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Oliver(4)Tries to get on with his life after his wife's death,then funeral.
daybreaker9584116 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
To me, the only redeeming quality this movie has is its opening(first) scene,which, of course, is his deceased wife Jenny's funeral.Now for my criticism.Several more actors and actresses from "Love Story" might have helped this sequel become a gem of a movie. Also,I think that the first film's director should have directed this sequel.Before I saw "Oliver's Story", I read the much better book,"Oliver's Story".This book has an uncountable amount of extremely interesting details,including at least one of Oliver's attempts at finding a new,true romance that I feel should have been included in this sequel.This aforementioned "new love interest"is referred to at least twice in the book,but not in the movie.I'ts this glaringly obvious omission of way too many of the book's details that make "Oliver's Story" so disappointing to me!One of my favorite parts of the book are its final words which Oliver says he would be if his "wife were still alive.This sequel should have had that as its ending! Oh Well!
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Oliver's $tory
grolt25 May 2005
If love really does mean never having to say your sorry, then the producers of Oliver's Story should consider themselves lucky, because otherwise they'd have a lot to apologize for. Banal, melancholic and tepidly shallow, Oliver's Story is of all things a complete antithesis to Hiller's infinitely superior Love Story. Where Love Story was a celebration of life in the midst of death, Oliver's Story is narratively lifeless, so wallowing in death that in retrospect makes the finale of the first film seem like Laugh-In. In Love Story, Arthur Hiller was able to capture the optimism, vitality and spirit of its youth subjects, providing its flower children audience with a moral center to believe in. Here was a couple, Jenny and Oliver, who overcame class, religious and parental boundaries to create a marriage based on love over money or politics or heritage. Love Story was the penultimate baby boomer picture, a movie for youth the world over to celebrate their liberal optimism and flower power innocence.

In Oliver's Story these characters have grown tired, and so has the first film's spirit. The motivated, liberated youth from the first film become the self-centered, pouty aristocrats that populate this sequel. The hippie sensibilities of the first have been replaced with yuppie complacency, as Oliver goes on a journey discovering that hey, plant ownership ain't so bad after all. The "love story" in this film is pointless, since both characters care too much about themselves to ever come close to capturing the shared bonding between Oliver and Jenny in the first film. Marcie fills her life with recreation, be it tennis, fancy dinners or overseas photography. Oliver starts off a lawyer with a social concern, but ends up accepting his position into land-owning bourgeois society all because, you guessed it, Jenny would want him to do so. Please.

The movie is called Oliver's Story, and if it is to be about Oliver's soul searching, it is the most passive and empty searching as I've ever seen. O'Neal, who can be great when he wants to be, is reduced to pouting while looking onto open landscapes. While the film covers a span of two years, the dreary setting remains a constant winter, and the trees are as dead as the emotion in this film. Some will call it smart for eschewing the standard romance plot, as Bergen's character becomes a write-off after an abrupt confrontation two-thirds in, but it is just arrogant writing. Writer Erich Segal (who also penned the first film), seems determined to breakaway from seemingly low brow romance conventions, but in so doing he has created a totally stale and empty film. What is a romance film without any romance? Even the brief sex scene between O'Neal and Bergen is so truncated and undeveloped that it amounts to all the eroticism of a loaf of bread. Stale.

The film veers from being a love story to being an empty film on just how oh-so-tough it is being bourgeois. The first film worked so well because Ali MacGraw brought a spunk to her lower class Jenny, who in turn was able to free Oliver from his upper class conceits. Without Jenny, Oliver is just another pouty aristocrat, and nobody wants to see a movie about the wealthy complaining about how hard off they are. Sorry, but tennis matches, overseas trips and countryside dinners do not strike me as a particularly sympathetic lifestyle, widower or not.

The whole film is an insult to the original, embracing money over love, individual self-pity over altruistic compassion, and pouting over pleasure. It's one big melancholic bore, where we spend ninety minutes waiting for Oliver to come to the conclusion he should have reached at Jenny's funeral, and that is the need to move on. What does he move to? The comfort of his father's wealth. For those two lovers in the first film, who needed only love to make it, such a conclusion is particularly disheartening. Those who wish to preserve their love for the first film and its characters are best to avoid this sellout Love $tory.
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Not as bad as reviews say
peter073 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This movie wasn't as bad as the reviews said it was, but I got sick of Oliver's character throwing random temper tantrums over nothing. It's good he was seeing a shrink but well, I guess he needed more time. Too bad he let a great woman go.

That said, I like the fact that the ending didn't fall into a cliche like if he and Marcie reunited. He just realized that he needed to keep living and not feel guilty about doing so just for his late wife. I'm glad I watched this film and anyone who liked "Love Story" will at least want to watch this.
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Don't even bother with this one
Monika-519 March 2000
I found Love Story a very touching and endearing film. I have that movie on video and looked forward to renting the sequel, Oliver's Story. A continuation of Oliver's life without his beloved Jenny.

This was an awful movie. Of course, I wasn't expecting it to be as good as the first, especially since Jenny had passed. But I was hoping Oliver could move on and find happiness elsewhere, in love and his professional life. But Ryan O'Neal and Candice Bergen ignite no sparks together and just plain didn't look good together onscreen. The whole film is dark, shallow and depressing. (Warning: The faint of heart should be careful when watching the film's opening scene at Jenny's grave site. Especially if you are up watching it late at night.)

Only Ryan O'Neal and Ray Milland as Oliver's father are back from Love Story, and I was happy to see that both Oliver Barretts had resolved their differences and began to build a genuine father/son relationship. On the other hand, I was EXTREMELY disappointed when it came to Jenny's father Phil. Not only is he played by a different actor, who has a completely different look, Phil's character has changed from a widowed, simple pastry shop owner to a woman hungry bar-hopper who wants Oliver to come to a singles bar with him. (Phil in Love Story would never have done that!)

Chances are, if you loved Love Story, you'll be extremely disappointed in Oliver's Story. The cast tries their best but they cannot overcome the awful script and the flat direction.
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