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Film / Making Love

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Making Love is a 1982 American drama film directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Kate Jackson, Harry Hamlin and Michael Ontkean.

Zack Elliot (Ontkean) is a successful young oncologist in the Los Angeles area married to Claire (Jackson), an equally successful television network executive. They appear to be generally happy in their relationship, but unknown to Claire, Zack has been struggling with feelings of attraction to other men. This gets exacerbated when he meets Bart McGuire (Hamlin), a gay novelist. This makes Zack realize that he must come to terms with his sexuality,


This film features examples of:

  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Zig-zagged. Bart leads a fairly hedonistic lifestyle, picking up multiple sexual partners, but while Zack did pick up many men too, it never led to sex with any of them before meeting Bart, and the other few gay men shown are implied to have normal jobs and regular lives, with little focus on their amount of partners.
  • The Beard: Averted in that, by all appearances, Zack and Claire married while being genuinely happy with each other, and it wasn't until after getting married that Zack began to seriously struggle with his sexuality. Claire attempts to invoke this after discovering that Zack is gay by getting Zack to remain in the marriage, even claiming that she would be okay with him having affairs with other men, but Zack tells her that he can no longer continue to live a lie and needs to be true to himself once and for all.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Bart and Zack don't end up together, with Bart realizing that he is not ready for the level of commitment that Zack needs, and he is last seen in the film out in the bars, cruising. Zack and Claire divorce, and while she has since gotten remarried and has a young son, it is loosely implied that she is now a stay-at-home mom and thus lost her career. However, Zack is able to live freely as a gay man, and at the end of the film Zack and Claire express their own happiness and gratitude that the other is happy.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Throughout the film, Bart and Claire deliver several mini-monologues, speaking directly to the camera about aspects of their lives and their feelings about the scenes that had just played out on-screen.
  • Closet Key: While he was struggling with feelings of attraction to other men before meeting him, Bart is the one who confirms to Zack that he is gay.
  • Family Versus Career: A sub-plot of the film is about Claire's fears that she is being forced to choose between her career and having a baby with Zack. By the film's end, she does have a child with another man after divorcing Zack, but it is unstated whether she is still working, and it is implied she now is a housewife.


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