Love Story

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
Love Story Movie Poster Image
Mega-hit of the 1970s isn't as powerful today.
  • PG
  • 1970
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Although Jennifer supports Oliver in law school, she promptly gives up her musical aspirations to be a housewife as soon as he finds a job. Modern audiences may find the gender roles out of sync with the times.


A love scene.


Jennifer's dialogue is peppered with mild expletives.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some of the dialogue is peppered with mild expletives. Although Jennifer supports Oliver in law school, she promptly gives up her musical aspirations to be a housewife as soon as he finds a job.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byhathaway99 May 19, 2010
This movie does have a sexual scene in it, where the two sleep together (not married) and it is quite a long scene. Checked the review and let my kids watch it... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 5, 2010

Boring tearjerker

Really really bad there is a scene where they are having sex and there is a lot of bad language. This movie is not worth your time.
Kid, 11 years old February 18, 2009

I love this film!

Although this film is very sad- it makes me cry everytime I watch it- it is also classic and beautiful.
I could watch this film every week and still think it... Continue reading

What's the story?

Radcliffe music major Jennifer Cavilleri (Ali McGraw) and Harvard man Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O'Neal) fall in love despite the differences in their backgrounds. Oliver is from an affluent WASP family while Jennifer grew up in her father's bakery in Rhode Island. Oliver is destined for Harvard Law School, while Jennifer's planning to study piano in Paris, but all of that changes when they announce their engagement. Unwilling to give in to his father's demand that they postpone their marriage, Oliver is cut off without a penny. Jennifer gives up music and takes a job as a teacher to support him while he's in law school. Her investment pays off when he graduates with honors and finds a well-paying job in New York. When Jennifer tries unsuccessfully to get pregnant, she's discovered to be terminally ill. She and Oliver spend their last days savoring every moment together.

Is it any good?

Although this corny reworking of Romeo and Juliet is almost saved by Ryan O'Neal's quietly smoldering charm, young viewers may be quick to hit the eject button. Jennifer's constant putdowns and continual sarcasm are so irritating that they undermine the plausibility of Oliver's love for her. Jennifer's illness and death is designed to evoke strong emotions, but viewers who can't get past her abrasive personality may have trouble summoning sympathy. However, sensitive teens may share in Oliver's intense feelings of loss and sadness.

Released in 1970, LOVE STORY was adapted from Erich Segal's best-selling novel and was equally popular onscreen. But the highly romanticized handling of Jennifer's death makes it unlikely to appeal to viewers today. Instead, audiences may cringe when they hear the famous line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." These words were ubiquitous when this tearjerker was released, but their message hasn't aged particularly well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how death and dying are portrayed in films. Was Jennifer's death portrayed realistically? Families who have experienced the dying and death of family member might compare that to the movie. Why do movie makers make death and dying either seem idyllic, as in this case, or gruesome, as in horror movies? Would you like to see movies that portray death realistically? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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