Making Love is primarily the story of Zack (Michael Ontkean), a successful young doctor in Los Angeles, who appears to be happily married to his wife Claire (Kate Jackson), but actually harbors substantial doubts about his own sexuality. Nevertheless, he’s never really explored the matter, until a patient named Bart (Harry Hamlin) comes in for a check-up, and the two have instant chemistry.
This inevitably leads to Zack and Bart hooking up, although Zack still refrains from admitting that he’s gay, saying that he is instead just “curious”. That night, Zack wants to stay the whole night, but Bart pushes him away. Zack returns the next day to berate Bart on his emotional distance, while Bart responds in kind about Zack’s unwillingness to accept his sexuality. Soon, Claire has to go to New York for a weekend business trip, and Zack uses the chance to spend more time with Bart, although the two end up bickering again, breaking it off for the last time.
Zack decides to tell Claire the truth, and although at first the conversation goes badly, she tries to accept him for who he is, going so far as to ask him to stay in the marriage and allowing him to see other men at the same time. Zack decides this isn’t for the best though, and the two agree to divorce, finishing with Zack moving to New York for a job opportunity.
The two meet several years later at a funeral, happily, and reflect on their newfound happiness in life.
“Claire and Zaco of Arthur Hiller’s Making Love, are a lot like Jenny and Oliver of Mr. Hiller’s Love Story”
— Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Did You Know?
Making Love was the very first Hollywood film to address the stress attended by “coming out”, and one of the earliest films dealing with homosexuality in general. Before settling on Michael Ontkean for the lead role, the director had approached many other notable actors in Hollywood, who all outright refused the role due to the content of the movie. Review our Gay Themed Films Here