On Golden Pond
Directed by Mark Rydell
Written by Ernest Thompson
Starring Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Jane Fonda
Available to stream on Netflix
There are a lot of things about On Golden Pond that haven’t aged well in the 34 years since its release. The score and cinematography both remind me of a daytime soap; Jane Fonda’s hair was downright distracting; and when you’ve got a kid actor that says things like “San-frantastic!” and “suck face” you’re gonna have a problem. But despite all these things, I enjoyed the movie immensely, and I know I’ll be watching it again.
If you take away the hokey music, all the fluff (unnecessary dialogue and Jane Fonda’s do), and the obnoxious little toe head, you will still have the magnificent core of this movie–a heartwarming and joyous love story. Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn are all that matter when it comes to this movie. Forget plot, forget theme, and focus on this phenomenal screen duo. It’s remarkable to think that they had never before appeared in a film together. Hollywood had nearly 50 years to pair them up, but nope, not once. It’s a shame, because there is a real spark between them, a true affection. Their relationship is based on intimacy, but always remains playful instead of sober. The dialogue contains plenty of wit and wisdom alike. It’s wonderful to see these screen veterans set free from the censors and say just what I imagine they wanted to say for decades.
For many, On Golden Pond probably conjures up some major nostalgia, and I can see why. It’s because the story is first and foremost about relationships, and the value we place on the ones closest to us. There is a feeling of fondness that washes over you as you see this family living their lives together and loving the best they can.