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“Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully.” December 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ncardinale @ 11:45 pm

I concur with these words, as spoken by Maude: a sprightly character from my favorite 1971 cult classic film, Harold and Maude.

The plot revolves around a forlorn, drifting young man named Harold, and an ebullient, young-at-heart octogenarian named Maude. In short, Maude inspires Harold to break free of his dull existence and to learn to live life to the fullest.

After watching this movie, I realized… I am Harold.

Not in the sense that I lead an empty, dreary life. But rather, in the sense that I desire to live a rich, healthy life, full of travel and new experiences from which I can draw knowledge, wisdom, and even empathy for others. I aspire to be like Maude when I’m elderly; learned in life and the ups and downs that it brings, as well as the glimmer of goodness in every aspect and challenge that arises.

Prior to watching this film, I had longed to chance upon characters who could define who I am and who I want to become. Being able to identify with Harold and Maude was like finding the perfect label to a once unspecified canister. They are my point of reference, reminders of my self-realization and self-evaluation, and put into words and evident visuals the abstract notions of who I was and how I wished to modify my character.

Since Harold and Maude is a slightly older movie starring established actors/actresses, and makes reference to time-worn music, movies, and historical events, the film also acted as a catalyst in developing and expanding upon my suppressed interests in Silver Screen movies and music from decades past. 

Up until this point, I had shoved aside my true tastes and pretended that I did not enjoy them (all in the name of conforming). However, once I laid eyes on Harold and Maude, I delved completely into gems of the yesteryears (discovering new “old” artists, songs, and genres all the time), thus helping me to better understand my parents, many adults that I encounter, and more importantly, myself.

As cheesy as this may sound, it even brought me closer to my deceased grandparents.

There is one scene in the movie where Harold roams through an expansive, grassy cemetery, which looked extremely familiar, as if I’d been there before.

That was because I had.

The cemetery was the Holy Cross Cemetery in San Francisco as it looked in 1971. Many of my relatives are buried there. Of all of them, my grandparents are the most meaningful to me. In 2005, I was brought to this cemetery to attend my grandma’s wake/burial and to visit the grave of my grandfather.

 It turned out that almost all of the scenes in Harold and Maude were shot on location in San Francisco. Knowing this only brought the movie closer to my heart.

Between vicariously re-connecting with my grandparents and embracing my true hobbies, I finally felt like I had found myself.

All thanks to Harold and Maude.


2 Responses to ““Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully.””

  1. jsautter Says:

    Wow! What a powerful post! This film truly has inspired you. And, it connects you with your family. The story you weave in at the end really drives home your connectedness to this film. As you normally do, you have thoughtfully constructed a meaningful blog post. You have a keen eye for playing with paragraphs to enhance and clarify your message and purpose. Your writing is authentic; you know a lot about your topic and you explain it in an easy way for readers (like myself) who have never seen the film. Hopefully you don’t think less of me for this! But, you have clearly shown how this film will impact your future and how it has already impacted your past. It’s quite touching!

  2. bmelanson Says:

    It’s amazing how one character can make you have an epiphany. I think it’s fascinating that you have an interest in things from the past. It makes you unique. I agree that it would make you closer to your older relatives. Also, that is such a coincidence that the movie took place in the same place you grew up! That definitely helps a person understand the setting more and get a better visual interpretation of a movie.

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