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Making Love

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Making Love is a compelling and groundbreaking film from 1982, directed by Arthur Hiller, with a lineup of star performances from Michael Ontkean, Kate Jackson, and Harry Hamlin. The movie uniquely explores themes of sexuality, personal discovery, as well as emotional struggle within the framework of a marriage. Notably, it was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to address homosexuality and bisexuality with sensitivity and respect, marking a major milestone in the representation of LGBTQ+ characters on the silver screen.

Michael Ontkean stars as Zach Elliot, a successful young doctor who seems to have everything – a thriving career, a beautiful wife, and a comfortable life in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Kate Jackson delivers a stunning performance as Claire, Zach's wife, a television executive who's professionally fulfilled yet increasingly feels something amiss in her marriage.

As the narrative unravels, viewers are drawn into an intimate view of Zach's emotional turmoil and inner conflict that emerge due to his realization about his sexual orientation. The movie illuminates the poignant struggles he faces to reconcile his public image and societal expectations with his emerging self-discovery. Far from resorting to stereotypes or sensationalism, the film treats Zach's gay identity and self-reflection with an unprecedented level of honesty and depth.

Harry Hamlin stars as Bart McGuire, a charismatic and openly gay novelist who comes into Zach's life. Hamlin's portrayal of Bart is multi-dimensional, with a mix of charm, confidence, and complexity, and he becomes the catalyst to Zach's journey of understanding and accepting his true self.

In contrast, Kate Jackson’s character, Claire, is positioned as the unsuspecting spouse, who is left in the dark about her husband's complex personal crisis. As Claire unravels the truth about Zach, she embarks on her own journey of self-reflection and emotional healing. Her transformation throughout the film is evident as she grapples with her husband's revelation and shifts in her own life's path.

The script, by A. Scott Berg and Barry Sandler, is well-crafted, with the narrative combining both melodrama and poignant character study. In this insightful and compassionate look into personal struggle and identity, the characters each go through their own individual journeys while maintaining their veracity and relatability.

Director Arthur Hiller helms the project with an engaging visual style and sensitive treatment of the subject. The film has a steady pace, tearing down preconceptions and stereotypes about homosexuality while allowing its characters to breathe, grow, and flesh out their identities throughout the film.

Despite its early 1980s release, Making Love has aged well and remains a reference piece for its pioneering representation of the LGBTQ+ community. It is a love story, but it's also a story about personal growth, courage, honesty, and acceptance. It tackles serious emotional and societal subjects, never shying away from the complexity that those themes inherently carry.

In terms of technical aspects, Making Love is a well-made film with solid production design and cinematography that capture the texture and vibrancy of early 1980s Los Angeles. The score adds another layer of emotional resonance to the film. The performances remain the film's monumental strength, with Ontkean, Jackson, and Hamlin delivering nuanced, heartfelt, and grounded portrayals in these challenging roles.

Making Love, therefore, carries more than its dramatic weight; it bears historical significance, playing an essential part in the cinematic representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Its authenticity and respectful exploration of its characters' journeys transcends its release period, making it a memorable piece of cinema that is as moving now as upon its initial debut. Making Love is a must-watch, not just for its historical value, but also for its timeless message of self-acceptance, love, and personal growth.

Making Love is a Drama, Romance movie released in 1982. It has a runtime of 113 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.9..

Arthur Hiller
Michael Ontkean, Kate Jackson, Harry Hamlin
Also starring Michael Ontkean
Making Love is available on .