What 'Love Story' Taught Us About Love

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love story erich segal
The classic film "Love Story" taught us about saying sorry to loved ones and more.

If you've never seen Love Story, a couple items to begin. First, get this film on your Netflix queue and while you're waiting, check your tissue supply. Second, we wrote this post in light of the recent death of Erich Segal, the former Yale classics professor who wrote both the novel and screenplay.

While the movie Love Story was in production, Paramount Pictures asked Segal to write a companion novel to gain more credibility and attention for the film, as they feared the plotline of star-crossed young lovers would be too saccharine for the time. Something worked: the film was a box office hit in 1970, and the book became a bestseller. The on-screen romance between leads Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw didn't hurt.

 

Love Story tells a basic tug-at-hearstrings tale we've seen before and will see again. Watching the young couple at the center of it navigate career, family and the other relatable challenges of life as a team, however, certainly hammers home a few timeless relationship lessons.

1. Love means sacrifice.

Oliver Barrett IV (O'Neal) gives up his upper-class family and a trust fund to marry working-class Jennifer Cavilleri (MacGraw) after the two fall in love at Harvard (technically she was a student at Radcliffe College). She gives up going away to Paris to support him through law school. Later, when Jenny falls ill, Oliver sacrifices his pride and asks his estranged father for money to cover her medical costs. Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal: Epic Love Story

2. Love means accepting someone in spite of their flaws.

He's arrogant, selfish, spoiled and sarcastic. She's self-righteous, proud and quick-tempered. But they accept each other for who they are and make each other better.

3. Loves means asking for, and giving, forgiveness.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry," Jenny tells Oliver when he returns to apologize after a fight. People often misinterpret this line to mean apologies are unnecessary, instead Jenny means forgiveness is inherent to love and it happens with or without apologies. 5 Ways to Forgive

What love lessons did you learn from Love Story or other classic films?