Relationships come and go. True love relationships are the rarest. Whether a friend, family, or romantic variety, the older you get the fewer they become. LOVE IS STRANGE, the new film by Ira Sachs, is a story of a newly married gay couple. But it’s not so simple. Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) have been together for almost 30 years. With the news of their nuptials, comes the dismissal of George from his teaching job at a Catholic school. Without his income, they are forced to sell their NYC apartment and ask family members to put them up… separately. Faced with the “What now,” Ben sleeps on a bunk bed beneath his reluctant great nephew, Joey (Charlie Tahan). Marisa Tomei and Darren Burrows play Ben’s niece and nephew, respectively, and Joey’s parents, Kate and Elliot. While George stays with their two younger neighbor friends (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez), gay cops from down the hall, who constantly have noisy parties until the wee hours of the morning, occupying his bed… the couch.
The two struggle to remain connected as they are torn apart from one another. Besides lovely performances from each and every actor in this film, we also get to see the dichotomy of the other relationships play out. Elliot and Kate’s relationship hinges on work schedules, parenting styles and the hint of an affair. Joey and his parents deal with the anxieties attributed to raising a teenager and questioning his sexuality. While everyone else is trying to figure things out, it is clear that the most stable relationship is between Ben and George. There is never a moment that this pair doesn’t feel genuine. Lithgow and Molina are tender with one another. They are an example of love and forgiveness.
Sachs does an amazing job with this multiple narrative style. The dialogue is never forced. Another stunning choice is the addition of the music. The predominantly heard Chopin pieces are an elegant underscore of each character. They are almost a character unto themselves. Love is Strange is an lovely story of two people in comfortable bliss. It is a story to be studied and saluted.
VERDICT: SEE IT
Directed By: Ira Sachs Written By: Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias Starring: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Charlie Tahan.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a love story for all ages and stages. It will touch you and perhaps make you reexamine your heart.
Originally posted on The Artswire