Bud and Ruth, “Harold and Maude”

This film by Hal Ashby has had an inexhaustible effect on me. For a long time I fell in love with boys who had Bud Cort’s eyes; I only realized watching it tonight that the relationship depicted was/is my relationship to the late great Barbara Epstein specifically, with aspects of Alice in Ruth. I saw the movie over and over again as a teenager. I couldn’t believe how in love I could be with someone on the screen before I saw Bud, who looked like a grammar school crush–Andy. I had never seen a movie that documented my feelings so, and yet it was “fiction.” But utterly real to me. When Maude tells Harold she’s chosen to die, I convulsed over and over again during the many screenings I went to. My mother didn’t say that, but I knew it was happening. Every time I see this film, I feel as though my skin is being peeled off.

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