love is strange

Director: Ira Sachs

Cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei

Running Time: 94 minutes

Certificate: 15

Synopsis: After Ben and George get married, George is fired from his teaching post, forcing them to stay with friends separately while they sell their place and look for cheaper housing — a situation that weighs heavily on all involved.

LOVE IS STRANGE sees two men, played by the incomparable John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, finally (after 39 years together) get married. As joyous an event as this is, the marriage leads to Molina’s George losing his job and as a result the newlyweds must sell their home and move in with their nearest and dearest – separately.

What transpires is a beautifully-acted piece of cinema routed in reality and the everyday trials and tribulations of these people. Things get awkward as the pair outstay their welcomes and find the separation difficult to stand. After so long together, their relationship is comfortable and relaxed and not being able to see each other very often at all is upsetting – both for them and the viewing audience.

Sadly, despite stunning performances – especially by Lithgow and Molina – the film is so very real it becomes a little disheartening. The audience must sit through uncomfortable dinners, family arguments and plenty of passive aggression and unspoken rage.

The concept is inspired but it lacks something in the execution. If you remove the enchanting coupling of Molina and Lithgow, and the superb support from Marisa Tomei, there is little to get excited about. Their presence elevates the picture tremendously but not even they are enough to save it.

LOVE IS STRANGE is worth a watch simply to marvel at Molina and Lithgow’s touching portrayals of their respective roles. Unfortunately, the film tries so desperately to be based in honest, gritty realism that it forgets to take a breath and laugh from time to time. The result is too voyeuristic, too uncomfortable and too sad to really be able to enjoy.

[usr=3] LOVE IS STRANGE is released in UK cinemas on 13th February.