The story of Harold and Maude is about Harold, essentially about life, death and how to enjoy what you’ve been given. In the beginning of the film, we learn about Harold. He is intrigued by death, so much that his mother believes that there is something wrong with him, yet the psychologists can’t help him, as he doesn’t want help.
Harold enjoys attending funerals, which is where he meets an old woman named Maude. They have a lot in common, both thinking about life and death, yet they are wholly opposites. Maude is energetic and spends her time the best she possibly can, enjoying every minute. Harold on the other hand, enjoys the thought of being dead and likes committing fake suicides. Harold and Maude form a genuine connection where she teaches him everything she has learnt from her long life about life, and he listens and follows her.
Harold’s mother wishes him to have a wife, but he deflects every person she sends his way, scaring them away with morbid words or actions. He does the same when his mother options him for the military. Harold spends more and more time with Maude, and one day, he explains why he is so fascinated with death; one day there was an explosion in his school, and he was assumed dead. His mother fainted at the news, something Harold saw. Harold explains that he “enjoyed being dead.”
As that was when he felt the most loved. Maude and Harold form a romantic relationship, and Harold wishes to marry her, much to the disgust of his friends and family. When Maude turns eighty Harold plans a surprise party. As they dance, she explains that she will die that night, as she will overdose on sleeping pills. She is ushered to the hospital, where she dies. Harold’s car drives of a cliff. Harold himself is playing a banjo, something he used to do together with Maude, singing and looking down at the wreckage.