Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973)

love and pain and the whole damn thing

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Introverts fall in love.

Walter (Timothy Bottoms) is a shy young man in his early 20’s riding through Spain as part of a cycling tour group. Impulsively he ditches this group and joins a bus touring one of which Lila (Maggie Smith) an equally shy woman in her 30’s is a part of. At first the two hardly speak, but eventually they get past their social quirks to form a tight, romantic bond.

The awkwardness and insecurities of the two characters is wonderfully captured and it is nice to see a film examine a romance between people that are not physically beautiful or affluent. The music score is subtle and Alan J. Pakula’s direction approaches the material in a nicely sensitive fashion along with the Spanish scenery that gives the production an exotic feel.

Smith is excellent as usual. Her performance and character is different from anything else that she has done making it a real treat to watch. The scene where she calls home to her family as well as the one where she gets locked inside a remote outhouse is quite amusing.

I would have liked to have seen a little more interaction with the other people on the bus as the supporting cast is almost non-existent and focuses too much on the two main characters making it seem like there are the only ones in the entire country of Spain, which gives the viewer a very isolated type of feeling. This may have been the intention and done as a way to show what it is like being introverted, but I didn’t care for it.

Although the two characters are offbeat the film follows too much of a romantic blueprint that eventually makes it formulaic despite a good start. Its biggest transgression is having one of the characters like in Love Story get afflicted with some mysterious illness that is never explained and put in to create cheap dramatic turmoil.

Overall though the film is okay and has a few touching moments. Those that enjoy romance may like it a bit better as well as fans of Maggie Smith.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: April 19, 1973

Runtime: 1Hour 50Minutes

Rated R

Director: Alan J. Pakula

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Available: DVD

One response to “Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973)

  1. So out of touch with the times. Has anyone ever seen it!

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