A successful young L.A. doctor and his equally successful television-producer wife find their happily-ever-after life torn asunder when he suddenly confronts his long-repressed attraction for other men. Zach and Claire live a comfortable life secure in their love for one another when Bart, a swinging L.A. novelist, walks into Zach's office and awakens unfamiliar feelings in him. In a move which leaves him wracked with guilt, Zach cancels dinner with his wife in order to go out with Bart. He is inexplicably drawn to this man who seems intent on keeping him at arms distance. Why can't Bart allow their relationship to grow? he wonders. Exasperated, he asks Bart, "Do you snore? Does anybody ever get a chance to find out?" As Zach's absences become more and more frequent, Claire's concern manifests itself in the suspicion that he is having an affair with another woman. Jilted by Bart and feeling alone for the first time in his married life, Zach resolves to tell Claire the truth about himself. Predictably, Claire is shocked that she could have known so little about the man she has loved for so many years and accuses him of deceiving her from the very start.
Okay, so I established my love of cheesy movies quite a while back. (And if you don’t believe me, go look at the ‘horror’ tag on this blog.) But I’ve reached a new high, I think, in this movie from the 80’s that was recommended to me. It’s cheesy, simply because of the time period in which it was made, but it far exceeded my expectations as well.
The first thing you have to keep in mind is that this was released in 1982, back when I was a whole whopping 8 years old. I don’t know a lot about how things were dealt with back then, but I really do think that Zach’s situation was handled amazingly well. I’m not sure a movie made today would have confronted this issue as well as this movie did.
Second, it was the 80’s.
Bart – your hair, baby.
Hair jokes aside, there was a lot to like about this movie. It was decently written and decently acted. I loved the characters, Zach especially. His tortured angst in deciding whether to stay with his wife, do the right thing, and make her happy or to follow his heart and make himself happy, brings you right into the center of his world. You won’t want his marriage to break up because Claire is a nice woman. She loves Zach and is doing her best. They have plans, dreams, and it all seems so damn perfect… until Zach runs into Bart one day.
Damn writers. Always fouling everything up.
Zach is unimpressed.
I think the only thing I’m unhappy with as far as this movie goes is that Bart turns out to be such a wimp. I really liked him and thought he and Zach were good together. But, well, what do I know?
The thing that grabbed me the most about Making Love is that the scenes between Zach and Bart are touching, sweet, and intense – without being graphic. What I posted above are about as explicit as it gets. But I can totally imagine the uproar this movie caused back in the day. Bold indeed. And amazing.
While I was on IMDB looking for information on this film, I saw a review that said, compared to today’s standards, the storyline was simplistic. I agree and, like the author of the review, I’m not knocking it either. I think when dealing with what was such a sensitive subject at the time, simple is best. And it truly worked in their favor.
There were some really good bits of dialogue in this movie as well, and one bit really resonated with me.
Zach Elliot: It's something you don't have any control over. I mean, whether you're born with it or acquire it, who knows? But there's something in me that needs to be with a man.
Isn’t this still being debated by religious fundamentalists and conservatives all over the place? Did you choose to be this way or were you born with an affinity for the same sex? It’s a minor point, but the fact that he even questions where the feelings came from struck me.
Another great bit of dialogue was this little bit of banter between Zach and Bart:
Zach Elliot: Bart.
Zach Elliot: Why don't you just say it?
Bart: I'm gay.
Zach Elliot: Thank you.
Bart: You're welcome.
See? I told you it was cheesy. But, again, I’ve established that I love cheesy in all its varied forms.
Anyway, if you can find this movie, I highly recommend it. And thank you, Haldoor, for suggesting I give it a try. Now I have all these…
End note: The dialogue I copied off the IMDB page for this movie. The photos I stole off the internet. Crowley came of his own free will. The movie I watched via a very cheap DVD from the Amazon Marketplace.