review for Love Story on AllMovie

Love Story (1970)
by Robert Firsching review

Some viewers dismiss Love Story as a cynical, manipulative tearjerker, mentioning "MacGraw's Disease," an incurable ailment which leaves its victims brave, sunny, and radiant. But these easy criticisms ignore why the film works so beautifully in the first place: it presents a pair of interesting, fully realized characters and makes us fall in love along with them. Ali MacGraw's portrayal of Jenny Cavilleri is so exuberant yet believable (she talks like a sailor) that she is immensely appealing, and Ryan O'Neal's Oliver is both sympathetic and admirable. These are good people, and when Jenny gets sick and Oliver grieves, we suffer along with them. Unlike with most tearjerkers and disease-of-the-week movies, we cry not because someone died, but because Jenny died. For proof of how much she's missed, see the dreadful sequel, Oliver's Story.