"Gorgeous goyish guy" meets Jewish radical girl in Sydney Pollack's glossy romance. In 1937, frizzy-haired Red co-ed Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand) briefly captures the attention of preppy jock Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford) with her passionate pacifism, while the writing talent beneath his privileged exterior entrances her. Almost eight years later, the two are reunited in New York, when well-coiffed leftist radio worker Katie spies military officer Hubbell snoozing in a nightclub. Through her force of will, and in spite of his smug rich friends, the two opposites fall in love, sparring over Katie's activist zeal and Hubbell's writerly ambivalence after a failed first novel. They head to Hollywood so that Hubbell can write a screenplay for his buddy-turned-producer J.J. (Bradford Dillman). But the House Committee on Un-American Activities' Communist witch hunt in 1947 tears the pair apart, as a pregnant Katie refuses to keep silent about the jailing of the Hollywood Ten, while a faithless Hubbell decides to save his career. When the two meet again at the dawn of the '60s, TV hack Hubbell and A-bomb protestor Katie feel the old pull, but they have to decide if it's worth the grief. Although blacklisted writers had returned to Hollywood -- and won Oscars -- by the early 1970s, the HUAC sections of Arthur Laurents's screenplay were still considered dicey, resulting in substantial cuts; Laurents reportedly blamed star Redford for not fighting them hard enough. Regardless of the edits, and critics' complaints about the film's schlockiness, 1973 audiences went for the well-executed and still politically tinged weepie, turning The Way We Were into one of the most popular films of 1973 and Redford into a major heartthrob. Streisand won an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and the Streisand-sung title tune won for Best Song. Despite the eviscerated politics, The Way We Were poignantly captures the insoluble dilemma of reconciling private desires with public awareness.
by Lucia Bozzola synopsis