The life of Fanny Brice, famed comedienne and entertainer of the early 1900s. We see her rise to fame as a Ziegfeld girl, subsequent career, and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Nick Arnstein.
The often unlikely joint lives of Katie Morosky and Hubbell Gardiner from the late 1930s to the late 1950s is presented, over which time, they are, in no particular order, strangers, acquaintances, friends, best friends, lovers and adversaries. The unlikely nature of their relationship is due to their fundamental differences, where she is Jewish and passionate about her political activism both in political freedoms and Marxism to an extreme where she takes life a little too seriously, while he is the golden boy WASP, being afforded the privileges in life because of his background but who on the most part is able to capitalize on those privileges. Their lives are shown in four general time periods, in chronological order when they attend the same college, their time in New York City during WWII, his life as a Hollywood screenwriter post-war, and his life as a writer for a New York based live television show. It is during college that Hubbell finds his voice in life as a writer, and ...Written by
As stated many times before, THE WAY WE WERE is one of only a handful of romantic blockbusters to actually feature an intelligent script and complex characters. Writer Arthur Luarents' based his screenplay (and subsequent novel) on girl he knew in college, who fought for liberal (and sometimes communist) causes. Three decades after it's release, THE WAY WE WERE remains one of the few cinematic depictions of the Red Scare that swept America in the forties and fifties; the backdrop of which lends the surrounding love story greater potency and depth. The film was a surprise box office smash when originally released, and became the fifth-highest grossing film of 1973 and was instantly embraced as a classic.
Katie Morosky is a character that Barbra Streisand born play, and she delivers on all accounts. Fierce and determined, yet vulnerable and self-conscious, Katie is a tricky character and Streisand inhabits her so deeply that she seems nothing less than completely believable. Justifiably nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, she inexplicably lost to Glenda Jackson's shrill performance in the barely remembered A TOUCH OF CLASS. This was clearly a major blunder on the side of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Robert Redford, who had actually turned down the role twice before director and friend Sydney Pollack talked him into taking the part, displays some of the best reflective acting ever seen on the big screen and effectively brings forth the dark side of being stereotyped as the All-American golden boy (although Redford did not receive an Oscar nod for playing Hubbell in this film, he was nominated for Best Actor that same year for his light comedic performance in THE STING).
THE WAY WE WERE is different from most romances in that it is not death, feuding families, or any other societal phenomena that directly tear the couple apart. Katie and Hubbell are simply passionate individuals with highly volatile, and contrasting, ideologies; the conflict of which is expressed in several brilliantly written and acted scenes that shimmer with the type of intelligence and honesty that is rarely seen in cinema today. The film's enduring popular success with the mass audience may very well be due to the magnetic chemistry between Streisand and Redford, the gorgeous cinematography, and the strong directorial hand supplied by Pollack. However, it is the complexity of the romance with politics and the strong characterizations by both leads that continues to make THE WAY WE WERE the best love story for adults.
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