Making Love [1982]

Genre: Drama
The studio marketed Making Love as "one of the most honest and controversial films we have ever released," adding that "it may be too strong for some people." That was then, and what once seemed shocking now seems tame. Still, it's hard to imagine the more sexually explicit Brokeback Mountain without it. On the surface, Beverly Hills physician Zack (Michael Ontkean, Twin Peaks) and his TV producer wife, Claire (Kate Jackson, Charlie's Angels), are the ideal couple. A smartly-dressed Gilbert and Sullivan fan, Zack appears to have little in common with denim-clad, openly-gay novelist Bart (Harry Hamlin, L.A. Law). They meet when Bart makes an appointment for a check-up, and the two hit it off. Turns out they share a love of "corny old movies." Afterwards, Zack can't stop thinking about his vain, if affectionate patient. Lunch leads to dinner, which leads to physical intimacy (sex is suggested rather than shown). Zack is falling in love, but Bart has no interest in commitment, and Claire suspects another woman. Making Love is narrated by Claire and Bart, who speak directly to the camera. It's unclear whether Arthur Hiller, best known for Love Story, is going for documentary-style realism or foreign film-style sophistication, but the technique does differentiate Making Love from your average soap opera (story credit goes to Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg). Though Hamlin has maintained the highest profile since, it's the sensitive performances of Ontkean and Jackson that anchor this no longer groundbreaking, but still relevant romantic drama. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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