The film version of Arthur Laurents’ book is a distended, talky, redundant and moody melodrama, combining young love, relentless 1930s and 1940s nostalgia, and spiced artifically with Hollywood Red-hunt pellets. The major positive achievement is Barbra Streisand’s superior dramatic versatility, but Robert Redford has too little to work with in the script.
The story follows the stars from the late 1930s – on a college campus where Streisand is a young Communist activist, and Redford a casual, shallow type – through World War II civilian and military service, finally to Hollywood where liberal activities lead to blacklisting and marriage breakup.
The overemphasis on Streisand makes the film just another one of those Streisand vehicles where no other elements ever get a chance. Redford’s role is another instance of waste of his talent. Supporting players are virtual cameos.
1973: Best Original Score, Song (‘The Way We Were’).
Nominations: Best Actress (Barbra Streisand), Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction