On Golden Pond (1981)

I have a vague inkling that I first became aware of this film years ago through an episode of Inside Actor’s Studio. It  must have been Jane Fonda’s episode where it was talked about in some fashion, as I don’t think Hepburn  herself ever did one. The movie didn’t really interest me initially, as I was in my early teens back then. I more than likely dismissed it as one of those boring movies with lots of talking and not much happening a la “an elderly couple at a lake, you call that interesting? Phooey, say I!” So it wasn’t until I recently. after I happened to receive a Taschen book about Katharine Hepburn from my mother, and flipping it through  that I happened to stumble on the page featuring the movie and suddenly had a flashback what it was about and became interested in seeing it. I’m not quite sure what it exactly was that compelled me, but I certainly am glad that I did, as the film is quite beautiful.

Though it’s telling a very a simple story, it has great depth and pathos. It’s hard to believe Fonda and Hepburn had never even met before shooting this film, they made such a believable elderly couple. Fonda of course was superb as the a bit grouchy old man afraid of his increasingly old age and already a bit failing memory. It was so real and human whenever he was slightly confused and lost his temper and  I really see myself a little in Fonda’s character. It’s not a happy picture, but somehow it is a bit endearing. For some reason I also had the sense that someone was going to die in this film, which is why all the boat scenes, especially the crash on the rocks, had me on my toes, dreading for the worst. Fortunately nobody did die.  That could have been too depressing of an ending, even if it could have been morbidly interesting to see what would happen after the kid died.

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