The Way We Were (1973) ***

The_Way_We_WereThere is one reason to see The Way We Were and that reason’s name is Barbra Streisand. A romantic drama, The Way We Were focuses on a love story between a poor opinionated Jewish activist (Streisand) and a carefree good-looking WASP, played by Robert Redford. In an otherwise mediocre film that at times jumps all over the place, Streisand shines bright. Directed by Sydney Pollack to a screenplay by Arthur Laurents, The Way We Were highlights some dark moments along US history, including the Hollywood blacklist and McCarthyism, protests to which are loudly voiced by Streisand’s character as a Marxist American Jew.
The two lovers are as different as can be, but while the film suggests it’s their ethnicities that both attract and turn them away from each other, it is really their different characters – her fire and passion set against his cool detachment, neither have to do with heritage; that is just another weak point in this film.
Still, The Way We Were captures a piece of American history and enjoys such a strong performance by Streisand, that many of its flaws can be overlooked.