What would you do if your husband fell in love - with another man? "Making Love" is about Zack (Michael Ontkean) and Claire (Kate Jackson) - two attractive, successful and playful affectionate partners who share the perfec... more »t marriage. He's a medic. She's a TV exec. And they're about to buy an absolutely gorgeous Beverly Hills home. Enter Bart (Harry Hamlin). He's a gay writer whose striking good looks pepper his social life with enough one-night stands so that he easily avoids commitment. When they first meet, Zack is merely curious. Gradually, he decides to take the plunge. Less about homosexuality than self-discovery, "Making Love" tackles the fundamentals of life - pain, loss, recovery - with astonishing sincerity and candor. Some critical scenes - such as when Zack tells Claire what's really happening to their marriage - are handled with a sensitivity rarely found in American movies. Highlighted by touching performances, "Making Love" really probes the depths of passion - in all of us.« less
David J. Kucharski | Washington, DC USA | 01/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When it was released in 1982, MAKING LOVE was publicized as the first film from a major Hollywood studio to take an honest look at homosexuality. Today, even in our more tolerant social climate, the movie remains just about the only film from a major Hollywood studio to take an honest look at homosexuality. MAKING LOVE is a compassionate, sensitive examination of one man coming to discover, and accept, that he is gay.Zack (Michael Ontkean) and Claire (Kate Jackson) are a young, attractive and successful married couple; he is a physician and she is a television producer. They have just bought a new home and talk about having a child. But Zack begins to question his sexual identity and to close himself off from his wife. Then he meets Bart (Harry Hamlin), a sexually adventurous gay man who forces Zack to come to terms with his sexual feelings.Although MAKING LOVE is nearly twenty years old, the only things dated about the movie are the clothing and hairstyles. There have certainly been other Hollywood movies that deal with homosexuality (PHILADELPHIA, IN AND OUT, etc.). But most of these movies seem oddly hesitant to address difficult issues or deflect them by using humor. By contrast, MAKING LOVE presents with complete honesty a man learning to accept that he is gay, along with all of the conflicted feelings and painful choices this involves.Barry Sandler's script is outstanding. It employs a device that today has become an annoying cliche: characters sharing their inner feelings by directly addressing the camera. But in this film, the device really works, thanks to honest writing and performances.All three lead actors are excellent, giving us portraits of believable, imperfect human beings who nonetheless try to do their best with the situation that confronts them. A special word of praise must go to Kate Jackson. Certainly Jackson's TV work (CHARLIE'S ANGELS, SCARECROW AND MRS. KING) never gave her the chance to play such an intelligent, fully-rounded character. Jackson is excellent and in a few scenes is so thoroughly convincing that she breaks your heart.Arthur Hiller's direction is understated and eloquent. And Leonard Rosenman's musical score is superb. His score helps us to recognize the movie for what it is: a tender and bittersweet love story. For example, early on there is a scene in which Zack has a painful meeting with a cancer patient and, distraught over his inability to help her, goes cruising for a sexual partner. Rosenman's musical score helps us to see that Zack's act is not cheap or sensational but instead is an attempt by a lonely, confused man to find emotional connection.A movie of exceptional quality, MAKING LOVE should be much better known. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for an intellegent, compassionate presentation of the many emotional issues surrounding coming to acceptance of homosexuality."
A Quiet Gem, Gaining Lustre
Sandy McLendon | Atlanta, GA USA | 11/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many movies that are now considered classics didn't start out that way. "Wizard of Oz" turned only a modest profit as a new release. "Casablanca" did okay, but it was forgotten for years until TV showings made it an audience favourite. "Citizen Kane" was little short of a box-office disaster."Making Love" is newer than those films, but it seems to be following the same path. In first release, it was dismissed as too softly soapy by gay audiences and as too much by straight ones, primarily because of one gorgeously sensual kiss between its two male stars. Twenty years on, we've all calmed down, and "Making Love" is looking better and better. Although the script falls into the usual Hollywood trap of making everyone in the film devastatingly attractive and well over the median income line, Michael Ontkean, Harry Hamlin, and Kate Jackson deliver honest emotional connection with their characters. Jackson is the surprise of the film, turning in a powerful performance that will surprise "Charlie's Angels" fans. Ontkean's sensitive portrayal of a man who realises he's gay after eight years of marriage is a tour-de-force. Hamlin delivers, too, fleshing out the movie's love triangle as a writer who brings Ontkean's character out, then dumps him because he's afraid of commitment.Yes, "Making Love" is something of a soap opera, and yes, it's a bit too determined to avoid giving offence. It still treads where very few movies dare to go, into the hearts of good people trying to make the best of a difficult situation. Even at its end, the film yields surprises. Kate Jackson's character is seen as content with her remarriage after losing Ontkean; using the most economical means, Jackson lets us know that her gay ex-husband was truly the love of her life, and that her ultimate act of love was to let him go.There are two names seldom mentioned in connection with this movie that should be singled out: Dame Wendy Hiller and Daniel Melnick. Dame Wendy is a delight as Winnie Bates, a neighbour who is friend to the young gay doctor and his wife; her performance gives "Making Love" much of its texture. And Daniel Melnick, as producer, deserves kudos, too. Melnick's early career was in 1950's TV, when the tube still had some notions of social responsibility. That ethic carries over into "Making Love"; Melnick took an extraordinary professional risk putting his name on this movie, and he is owed a debt of gratitude by everyone who loves "Making Love". Melnick's next film was "Footloose", so he landed on his feet, if ever anyone did.Again, it's a great little movie, and you won't regret making the acquaintance of the people so lovingly brought to life in it. To everyone who worked on the film: You had guts, and we appreciate what you accomplished more and more as the years roll by."
Before Brokeback Mountain.....
Pete | Central Islip, NY USA | 02/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After years of homosexuals in movies being portrayed as evil and disturbed, 1982's "Making Love" attempted to tell an honest and realistic story of a married man who discovers he is gay and the effect that it has on his marriage and his life. The story is so completely absorbing and moving and one cannot help but shed tears at the bittersweet ending. The acting is first rate by all three leads; Kate Jackson, Harry Hamlin, and Michael Ontkean, all very brave actors for doing this film when many others were afraid to touch it. Unfortunately, the film was not appreciated because the public wasn't ready for it. I have friends that tell stories of mass hysteria in the theater during the love scene between the two men; people screaming, storming out of the theater, etc. How ridiculous and sad. "Brokeback Mountain" and "Making Love" have many similarities, but one major difference. "Making Love" goes as far to say that gay people can find love and be happy. As a teenager, desperate to find people to identify with, this was a message I needed to hear. I'm so glad that the film has been released on DVD so more people can experience it. It's a film that, after 24 years, I still hold very dear to my heart."
Either Fox or Santa Clause got the letters I wrote them
Davis | Colorado | 11/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie made a huge impact on the course of my life. If I hadn't seen it upon it's 1982 theatrical release I most likely would have come out of the closet anyway, but the sensitive portrayals here (from actor to writer to director) made it easier for me to confront myself before making some huge life mistakes. Since there are so many gay themed movies and tv shows around nowadays I don't know if this film could have the same impact on any young gay people now as it did on me then, but I'm greatful that it's being made available so that at least those of us who saw it and were touched deeply by it once upon a time can relive a very sweet memory. Thank you, 20th Century Fox. -D."
Historic Gay Drama Finally Coming to DVD
James Morris | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 12/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first mainstream film in which gay men got to see themselves portrayed in a positive light, and probably the first American film to portray gay people without resorting to stereotypes.
When I bought my VHS copy in the early 90's, it was already out-of-print, and I paid more for it then any other VHS film I ever bought in my life (over $60, if I recall). Even so, to this day, I don't regret a penny of it. Now that Fox Studios, who owns the rights to this gay classic has finally conceded to release it on DVD, I am optimistic that The Boys in the Band and the Lost Language of Cranes, two other classic gay dramas which Fox also owns, may follow.
Let's hope so.
The film may seem quaint and quite mild by today's standards, but in 1982, positive images of gay men in Hollywood films simply did not exist. Prior to Making Love, gay men in American movies were either suicidal sissies or vicious villains. The best we could hope for was that some sympathetic director might tone down the images of gays as sick and evil, a rendering that was more or less dictated by the censorship codes that were in force for much of the first hundred years of Hollywood history. Indeed, the negative but harmless 1930s classic "sissy," eventually gave way to darker portrayals of gay people as inhabitants of a shadowy world of villains and degenerates. Hollywood's version of gay people was as unrealistic and damaging as any propaganda ever wielded against any minority, anywhere. Therefore, the film Making Love can be seen as nothing less than a radical departure from the standard Hollywood negative portrayal of gays. The producers and production team of Making Love went out of their way to make the gay characters as likeable and attractive as possible, and, at the time, I don't remember any of my friends who saw the film who weren't grateful for that alone.
Many people have dismissed this film as a "soap opera" and claim that the basic plot is unbelievable. Interestingly enough, a lesbian friend of mine had the greatest identification of anyone I knew with the character played by Michael Ontkean - she said that when she was coming out as a lesbian, and married at the time, her marriage was exactly like the couple in this movie. The lies, the sneaking around, the nervous confrontation with her spouse - she lived it all, and she felt that the film very accurately portrayed her real life situation. So don't let anyone tell you that this "soap opera" is totally unbelievable, for I know someone who lived it.
Enough cannot be said about Kate Jackson's wonderful performance. This is possibly the best role she ever tackled, and almost definitely the best acting she ever did. Arthur Hiller's direction is perfect, and he is also assigned a small supporting role as Zack's father. Wendy Hiller, as a compassionate friend of the married couple, gives an excellent supporting performance, as she does in every role she undertakes.
Harry Hamlin and Michael Ontkean as the two leads (both of whom are straight and were very nervous and also very brave about taking these parts) are cute enough to make the romantic in my soul enjoy this film even for the wrong reasons. Buy it for the right reasons - it's a piece of gay history, and one of the first American films to deal with homosexuality in a positive light."