Love Story is a tough act to follow, but Oliver’s Story manages to hold its own. The continuation of Erich Segal’s tale of fated lovers gets a sensitive and moving treatment from director and coscripter (with Segal) John Korty.
Oliver’s Story begins with the burial of Jenny Cavalleri Barrett, whose death closed out the first pic. Ryan O’Neal, working as a lawyer in a prestigious New York firm, is burdened by a sense of despair and loneliness, along with a liberal dose of self-pity.
Enter Candice Bergen as the Bonwit heir in Bonwit Teller, the flip side in looks and disposition to the Jenny character created by Ali MacGraw. Their meeting is one of those coincidences that only occur in films, but Korty and Segal plot the relationship with a sureness that proves to be highly endearing.
The most moving segments come, ironically, not out of the O’Neal-Bergen encounters, but from a few brief scenes between O’Neal and Ray Milland, who encores as his wealthy banker father. It’s a tribute to both performances and Korty’s direction that this most basic of conflicts is resolved here in a genuinely satisfying manner.