Themes Of The Counterculture In The Film, Harold And Maude '

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America in the 1960’s and 70’s was a time of a cultural revolution. Groups known as activists and hippies lead movements for black power, women’s rights, and gay rights all while attacking of the idea materialism and mainstream culture. These groups and groups alike are known as the counterculture (Kimbell, 2001). The counterculture of this time is represented in all types of media and film. Films like Easy Rider, The Graduate, MASH, Harold and Maude, just to name a few all had themes of counterculture throughout. The film Harold and Maude was first released in 1971. It was written by Colin Higgins and directed by Hal Ashby.
The film is about a young boy, Harold, who is obsessed with the idea of death and everything that surrounds it. In his
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During the counterculture of the time, it was very common for young people to fight back against their parents beliefs of the norm, and follow their own path. The New World Encyclopedia describes it as, “In contemporary times, counterculture came to prominence in the news media as it was used to refer to the youth rebellion that swept North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand during the 1960s and early 1970s” (2017). There are countless examples of Harold doing this throughout the film. The very first scene of the move, Harold pretended to hang himself as his mother walked into the room. Although, she just ignored him and continued on with her day telling him to be ready for dinner at a certain time. Another example occurs later in the film when Harold’s mother was filling out a dating questionnaire for him, because she wanted him to settle down and get married. While she is asking the questions, the camera is focused on Harold loading a gun and shooting it just above his head, insuitating that he was going to or pretending to shoot himself. It is easy during this scene to only focus on what Harold is doing, but the questions his mother is asking are also representative of the counterculture. She is so controlling that instead of answering questions with Harold’s answers, she is answering …show more content…
During this time, it was expected that you get married, have kids, take care of them, and then die. Maude, had a sense of youth in her that was uncommon and untraditional. There were several examples throughout the film that are representative of her youthfulness. For one, Maude had, almost an obsession, with stealing cars and driving recklessly. During one scene of the movie, she parks a car that she stole on the curb of a street to show a tree to Harold that she wanted to uproot out of the sidewalk in the city and move it to a forest somewhere so it could breath clean air and live a happy life. While they were looking at the car, a group of police officers walked up to the parked, stolen car and were investigating it. After Maude was done looking at the tree, she walked past the police officers pretending it was not her who stole and parked the car, then walked up to the next car and stole that one and sped off. Throughout the film, she also taught Harold how to live. After Harold opened up to her about dying and how he is not living, she responded by saying that lots of people back away from life and it’s important to take a chance and live. In the end of the film, after Maude died, Harold learned a new perspective on life because of her. Overall, her attitude on life was common of what could be seen in a young person, not an older person. Her following her own path and

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