Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973) Poster

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A lost film that deserves resurrection.
WHORNER28 July 2004
This heart-tugging April-August romance cannot be equaled for the lush Spanish scenery, excellent photography, haunting music, and courageous humor. A young Timothy Bottoms was fresh from his excellent performance in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, and Maggie Smith was in fine form portraying a spinster whose rose had lost its bloom. Her role is an excellent example of how a skilled, attractive actress enters a more mature, "seasoned" stage of her career. Both characters are slight misfits, fishes out of water on a cut-rate bus tour in the Spanish back-country who begin as antagonists but gradually draw closer. This is a tried formula, but in expert hands. It is a mystery why LOVE AND PAIN has never been marketed in any video format, or posted more prominently on the resume of either of its stars.
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The test of time!
badpuppy210 March 2002
After viewing Love and Pain nearly thirty years after it's initial release, I felt that this film had certainly passed the test of time. This sometimes overlooked film is an excellent vehicle for Maggie Smith in a dramatic role; even more believable than her classic, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Initially the film appears to be a very clever, dry comedy, accented by Maggie Smith's prim and proper British morals pitted against Timothy Bottom's portrayal of a rich, but socially awkward American student. From the hysterically funny camping-trailer scene to the bitter-sweet twist at the end, Love and Pain is a timeless treasure worthy of a place on your video shelf!
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Too romantic, but oh my
Bram-519 February 1999
Yes, it's too romantic. Yes, it's a fairy tale. But it's so lovely. Timothy Bottoms is a loser on a bus trip through Spain where he meets his female counterpart, Maggie Smith. Of course, she's older than he is, but they soon find out they're kindred spirits. This movie is a dream. I, of course, am a romantic, so I loved it from the moment I first saw it, when I was just a kid. If you're a romantic, you'll love it too.
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Romantic so romantic
viagra1-219 June 2000
Well it is a good movie for romantic people, Maggie Smith and Timothy Bottoms works well. The history is not like the common love history , she is older than him and both have lots of differences, but love is blind and they will find the happiness, althought the final is not so clear ( I expected to see them more like a marriage) if you are romantic, you'll cry and laugh with this movie.

By the way the travel through Spain is very romantic.
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A wonderful film for young adults and their elders ...
nancyjomo6 January 2006
This is a delightful film of coming of age, and coming to life. The one, a young man, suffocated by his blue-blood family, finds himself in the eyes of an older woman. And she, a not-quite-middle-aged spinster suffocated by her roles in life, is yearning for something to live for as she faces a final illness. He falls in love with her unaffected realism; and she with his boyish enthusiasm and unashamed wonder at the world. Together they struggle with what they see as a lack of tolerable options for such an odd couple; while learning more and more to depend on each other for much more than friendship. Together they discover Europe, and life, and each other, and themselves ... and bring us all a little more to life when they do.
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Smith and Bottoms, what a pair.
I hear that Alan J Pakula was loved by his actors. I'm sure that's true and Love And Pain And The Whole Damn Thing made me notice, made me feel the love of Pakula for his actors. Here he has Timothy Bottoms in a performance of such beauty that I don;t understand why he vanished, specially after this film and The Last Picture Show. Maggie Smith builds, with Timothy Bottoms, a romantic crescendo more clear and tangible to us, the audience, than to them, those character walking at the verge of the abyss. Beautiful, smart and unforgettable.
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Great unobtainable film
john davidson21 December 2005
This is a great low key film. Maggie Smith is wonderful in this off beat drama/comedy. She did this I believe after " The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie " but her performance is clearly up to that standard. It really is a very sweet love story with the ups and downs of a relationship between Maggie and Timothy Bottoms. His performance is also very good and kept very low key much like the film in general. I don't know why it is not available on DVD or VHS? I happen to have recorded it off of a Canadian Broadcast years ago. I have also tried searching a number of rental house to no avail. If Mr. Pakula reads this please find away to make this little gem of a film available to everyone. Thank You.
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I loved "Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing"
sally28 March 2009
This was one of my favorite movies. This is Maggie Smiths Best movie. I cannot understand why it is never on TV or allowed to be made into a DVD. I have written to Lifetime,TCM and others trying to get some network to play the movie. Does anyone out there know why this movie is never shown? I can't think of another movie that matches it in humor and tenderness. This is a PG movie but last time I asked for it in a video store they thought I was looking for an X rated movie and gave me a sheet of Xers. I first went to this movie because someone told me it was a great small movie and if I didn't see it now I would never get the chance. (he was right) I took his advice and had to drive around a flood area (there had just been a tornado) to get to see the movie before it left the area. I am so happy I got that chance but it would be great if others get to experience this film. This movie was wonderful!! And I will repeat Maggie Smith's BEST movie.
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Boy argues with dad/meets older woman/she resists, then (wisely) gives in.
sj225524 May 2005
I've been looking for a copy of this wonderful movie for several years. I can't imagine why it's never been released on VHS or DVD. Saw it originally in '73, caught it again on some late night movie channel. Haven't seen it since, but the memory lingers on. I STILL have a crush on Timothy Bottoms, thanks to this sweet and romantic movie! Maggie Smith is also wonderful--such a great actress.

This is a charming story with fun little vignettes (Maggie Smith exiting a "loo" unknowingly trailing toilet paper stuck to her heel) and clever dialogue throughout, set against a trip through beautiful scenery by bus and bicycle.
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Memorable Comedy!!!!
csmclean15 January 2006
Boo hoo- I can't imagine why this movie is not available..!! It truly lives up to the title-- covering love, pain and 'the whole damned thing' much in the way depth comedies like Harold and Maude or A Thousand Clowns (Jason Robards) did. I still remember certain humorous 'Maggie' scenes after 30+ years since my first viewing -- and had no idea I'd have any trouble finding the film to add to my comedy classics collection!! With Maggie in full bloom these days - even with the younger set (via Harry Potter), there is no excuse not to have one of her funniest available!! (The toilet paper stuck-on-her scene was great!) Timothy did VERY well,too-- just right, in fact and I remember this film and The White Dawn as two of his best films. Besides comedy and pathos and great scenery (eg Spain) there was a touch of Harold and Maude in this film. Maggie was cast as the endearingly disbelieving love object of Timothy Bottoms deepening devotion, and in certain scenes wherein his father tries to talk him out of the preposterousness of being in love with an older (and dying) woman, there are echoes of similar scenes between Bud Cort and those trying to dissuade Harold from the (supposed) foolhardiness/repulsion factor of loving Maude!)
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Loved this special little movie
annieorozco15 July 2006
I loved this movie. Maggie Smith and Timothy Bottoms were wonderful and it was both comic and poignant. It was definitely a sleeper, but I thought it was a very special and different take on a love story. Maggie Smith remains one of my favorite actresses and Timothy Bottoms was able to carry off this May/September love story. I saw this movie twice when it was first released with a friend in San Francisco. We've talked about it many times and made attempts to find it on tape or DVD. It's been over 30 years since we first saw it and I consider it one of those really special films. Has anyone been able to obtain a copy or know whether it may be released on television again? I would also love to be able to purchase a VHS or DVD copy.
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a perfect film
ravenesq3 January 2002
I saw this film for the first time when it was coupled with "the main film"...The Dove. Fortunately this film came on first and afterwards, during the preview of The Dove, most of the audience left. They clearly had come to see Maggie Smith. This is an absolutely perfect film and I would love to share it with other people.
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I loved it both times!
rosinaskinner-127 August 2001
A fortuitous combination of writer, director, actors, composer. The only thing I can't understand is why it is referred to as a drama. It is profoundly comedic to me, including lots of physical comedy, and the music informs of the comedy in it too!
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Where Can I get a Copy?
anastasioj6 November 2006
In the 70s I saw this film a number of times. Every time it was be re-released in a theater, I'd take another friend of mine to view this real treat. Maggie Smith was wonderful as the repressed endearing woman embarking on the adventure of her life. I have been looking for years in video stores and on the internet to find it. I thought once Alan Pakula had died there would be a resurgence for all his movies. But, it has been nowhere to be found. I highly recommend it, and welcome hearing form anyone who knows where I May obtain a copy. There must be a problem with distribution rights. I remember many scenes - the one with the bird at the hotel and the one where Maggie Smith attempting to walk dignified has the camera panning at her shoe, where she is dragging some toilet paper. Does anyone know if it is ever shown on AMC or TMC?
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Magical, painful, soul-satisfying
klprice3 November 2001
I saw this film when I was 22, with my best friend. The protagonist, played by Timothy Bottoms, was so easy to root for, and Maggie Smith's "older woman" is a thing of beauty, comedic and touching, of course you love her, but, let's be real, what chance is there for THIS relationship... a film that was innovative for it's time, I thought. It's rather hard to find at video stores, so I think I'll try to buy it.
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Unlikely Love Story GEM
wheezz2427 February 2008
I was thoroughly charmed by this movie when it first came out and have been recommending it for years. I can't understand why it hasn't had a video release. Maggie Smith is brilliant, hilarious and touching in this unlikely love story Gem. This movie is worth a viewing if only for the moment Smith comes out of a Port-A-Johnny with toilet paper stuck to her foot. Her physical comedy is unsurpassed. Timothy Bottoms performance as an angst-filled youth is right on. Bottoms, in my opinion, does not get enough credit for the wonderful actor he is. "Love and Pain..." is reminiscent of "Harold and Maude" though not quite as quirky. I hope we all get to view it on video very soon.
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reverse May and December love story, absolutely wonderful
bernie25 December 2006
I saw this movie many years ago and fell in love with it. I wish I could find it on VHS or DVD, It would make a great present to myself and my friend whom I saw it with. Any hopes for its release? I do have a very bad copy which was recorded from a cable station showing. Is it perhaps available under its original title "The Widower"? I only just recently learned that it was under another title. I have not seen the movie under its title The Widower so I do not know if it is exactly the same as Love and Pain or if there were changes made before its release. Perhaps Alan Pakula Productions could be persuaded to re-release this wonderful film? I'm sure if a vote was taken there would be a great number of people willing to purchase the film, making it profitable for Columbia Pictures.
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All about Love, Mature Love of Two Lonely People
JLRMovieReviews13 December 2016
Timothy Bottoms is a lost and shy young man with no apparent direction or aspirations, not liking college or getting along with or even being understood by his father. He is forced to go on a biking tour across Europe, with a friend of the family being the teacher/chaperone for the trip, but Timothy abruptly leaves the tour and jumps on a bus full of people on their own tour excursion. He befriends Maggie Smith, who has her own problems. They make quite a couple with their own insecurities, but they form an alliance, slowly, very slowly. When one gets closer, the other draws back. Both give very sincere and thoughtful performances. The ending is rather unexpected, but then again what I did expect to happen, realistically? A viewer's appreciation of this film will develop more, with each viewing, as we see a mature look at love, loneliness and real life and shows Maggie Smith and Timothy Bottoms at their restrained best.
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A masterpiece of mood in romance
ustinovquinnconnery6 June 2014
This is a romance but a story told in a special way.

The camera, and we the viewer, are not observers watching a sequence of events, as is usually the case with American cinema. Rather, as the characters unfold and interact on their travels in Spain, we are sharing the moods of the characters as they dance before our eyes. The hero from America and the heroine from England by chance find a common life and love in the moods of Spain and the moods of European cinema.

Look at the picture on screen and feel the mood; then in your mind link that to the words and events.

A masterpiece much misunderstood.
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A delightfully funny and romantic May-September Love Affair.
meema6423 September 2012
I just saw this movie last week on Turner Classic Movies. I just stumbled upon it and though it was a slow starter, I was delighted I stayed with it. Timothy Bottoms seemed so very young and Maggie Smith was such a realistic, but lively spinster, that it wasn't too far into the movie before you knew that something exciting was going to happen between these two. I almost didn't watch after seeing the title, but after watching it to the very end, the title does seem to fit. If you ever have a chance to see this movie on TCM, and you are somewhat a romantic, or have ever dreamed or have fallen in love on a vacation, please watch this movie.
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Possibly the oddest couple since "Harold and Maude"...
Neil Doyle5 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
And just as funny, with two wildly eccentric characters finding comfort in each other through an improbable but funny series of circumstances which bind them together during a tour of Spain. They're the least organized of all the tourists, eventually getting away from the tour group to do some exploring on their own.

And they're not the only eccentrics in the story. There's a wonderful scene where MAGGIE SMITH gets advances from a man who fancies himself a bird whistler and whose idea of a courtship is to present himself at her hotel room with his favorite bird on his shoulder. "I like fish," she tells him after a wacky scene where she has to put up all of her resistance against his pursuit of romance. Another funny sequence has a titled nobleman living in a castle making the same sort of attempt to lure Smith into a romantic liaison.

But the film really belongs to the bewildering relationship between the repressed Maggie (who reveals later that she has a fatal illness), and the young man from a wealthy family of over-achievers who just wants to get away from family control over his destiny. He finds a kindred spirit in Smith but admits to her that she can be "a pain in the ass" at times. Both find themselves in a lot of foolish situations.

All of it is done with expert timing from both leads who turn in finely nuanced performances amid some hysterically funny scenes that will have you gasping for breath at the absurdity of it all.

Unfortunately, the script flounders badly toward the end and overall the story loses the satisfaction of some of the earlier moments in telling an unusual tale of a May/September romance. It could have used a bit more editing before release and never became a huge hit with the public.

The color photography in Verona and Madrid is gorgeous, and the story benefits from a sense of humor that never lets up as we follow their misadventures across the Spanish landscape in rain and shine. All of the supporting performances are first rate.
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33 Years Later, Still Not Available???
mwalker-4112 August 2006
This film remains alive in my memory in the form of its emotional impressions (the term "bittersweet" may be overused here but is completely appropriate) as well as the final chords of the soundtrack, which darkly underline the story's conclusion. I'm with everyone here astonished that this film's still not available for personal acquisition. It's not as if it was a misstep for either of the stars, something to be kicked under the rug; if anything it's akin to "Harold and Maude" (but not an imitation...the resemblance is superficial). I can still feel this film in my blood, though it must be 20 years since I last saw it.
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What a charming movie! wish I could get it on DVD.
stevezini10 March 2010
I saw this in the theater years ago with friends, we howled. One liked it so much he went back to see it again the next night. Magi Smith and Jeff Bridges are so different and yet so great together, which speaks so highly of both their talents. The characters are so different, an "asprinig" student who has yet to pass the SAT and enroll in college at 26, surrounded by extremely successful his parents and siblings.And then he meets by accident - one of many of his making - an older woman, a teacher. One whose world, is not just structured, but encased for years by career and the needs of her siblings. The understated humor is delivered so perfectly by both that makes it so funny and the romance so touching.
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A beautiful slow paced film that draws you in.
Tim Johnson15 November 2013
Diane and I watched this understated but lovely film on TV last evening. We both thought that it was a gorgeous film, superbly acted by both Bottoms and Smith who played their characters accurately from beginning to end.

As opposed to other commentators I found the script married perfectly with believability as well as drama in that I just watched the film and, in its slow pace, let the peacefulness of the film roll over me. The slow pace of the film allowed me to admire the cinematography which I thought was exemplary in that the slowness allowed the viewer to take moments looking at the scene. This quietness allowed the camera shots to become beautiful stills with an existence on their own. The director chose the shots but the cinematographer decided what to do with the shot selected and his decisions were generally perfect.

Other commentators found the story too improbable but we let the mood of the film envelope us. The motivations of the two characters could easily be seen. The scenario many not be the most common but the circumstances of the story could easily find traction in many situations.

We loved the film; it was so different from the mindless junk being served to us by Hollywood today.
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Love Comes in Squirts
wes-connors5 September 2010
Awkwardly asthmatic Timothy Bottoms (as Walter Elbertson) goes to Spain on summer vacation. Wheezing on a bike, Mr. Bottoms leaves the trails and hops on a bus tour. He sits down next to attractive older Maggie Smith (as Lila Fisher). Ms. Smith squishes his "Mounds" bar and Bottoms squirts her with some mysterious liquid. Despite an age difference, the pair are kindred spirits, with much in common below the surface. And, as both are sex-starved, a "May/December" romance eventually develops.

The lovers are blissful - then, a tragic secret is revealed...

With director Alan J. Pakula and his co-stars at career peaks, it's surprising to find "Love and Pain (and the whole damn thing)" was not at least a moderate success during its hesitant 1972 release. It's features good performances and pretty Spanish scenery. Apparently, the film was recognized for its relative fault; compared to the output produced by the notable filmmakers, it was uncommonly dull. It is also intentionally interjected with comedy, with Smith sometimes appearing clumsy when she should be staid.

****** Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (4/19/73) Alan J. Pakula ~ Maggie Smith, Timothy Bottoms, Jaime de Mora, Charles Baxter
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