Film: Love Story

What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles. And me.
Oliver Barrett

A 1970 feature film about a rich college student named Oliver who falls in love with a working-class student named Jenny. Considered a classic romance film, as well as the mother of all Tear Jerkers. Based on the novel of the same name by Erich Segal.

This film provides examples of:

  • 555: When Jenny goes to call Oliver's parents, he gives her a real-sounding phone number, followed by her dialing 555-5555.
  • Award Bait Song: "Love Story", especially the Andy Williams version.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished/Victorian Novel Disease: Taken to such an extreme level it made Roger Ebert coin the term "Ali MacGraw Disease": a "movie illness in which the only symptom is that the sufferer grows more beautiful as death approaches."
    • Lampshaded in the MAD parody, in which the doctor describes this to Oliver as an actual symptom of her illness. By the time she's lying on her deathbed, smiling radiantly, she's too beautiful to look directly at.
  • Book Ends: The movie starts and ends with the male protagonist at Central Park during winter.
  • Boy Meets Girl
  • Chick Flick
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jennifer. And how!
  • Downer Ending: Jenny dies and Oliver is left heartbroken.
  • Expository Theme Tune
    Where do I begin
    To tell the story of how great a love can be?
    The sweet love story that is older than the sea?
    The simple truth about the love she brings to me?
    Where do I start?
  • How We Got Here
  • Inter-Class Romance: Wealthy, WASP Oliver and working-class, Catholic Jenny.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: The doctor tells Oliver how sick Jenny is, but not her. Oliver decides to keep it from her for quite a while but she eventually finds out. She takes it surprisingly well.
  • Loving a Shadow: Oliver's new girlfriend accuses him of this in regards to Jenny, suggesting that deep down he probably wanted her to turn out to be a bad person so that he could dump her and continue to hang on to his memories of Jenny.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Jenny teasingly accuses Oliver of this when he becomes extra-attentive to her (he has of course been completely faithful to her and is acting this way because he just found out about her cancer diagnosis). Additionally, when Oliver goes to his father to ask for money for Jenny's treatment, his father assumes that Oliver has gotten some other girl pregnant and needs the money either to pay for an abortion or to get her to keep her mouth shut.
  • Oh, and X Dies: The opening sentence tells us that Jenny died.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Oliver's father cuts all ties with his son for choosing to marry below his class, not that Oliver helps matters any. Luckily, he changes his mind at the end when he finds out Jenny is ill and that Oliver needs to pay for her treatment. They make up at the end.
  • Riches to Rags: Oliver's father cuts him off when he marries Jenny, forcing the couple to get by on Jenny's teaching salary until he graduates from law school and gets a well-paying job.
  • Security Cling: Jenny's last request to Oliver before she dies.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: How Jenny and Oliver start out
  • Soap Opera Disease
  • Spoiler Opening: "What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?"