Love is Strange – A Modest Film Lifted by Its Two Leads

GameStop, Inc.

love-is-1

As marriage equality gains victory after victory throughout the United States, countless committed couples have been able to share their vows. In Ira Sachs’ latest film, Love is Strange, he takes a look at a couple finally able to enter matrimony only to find that it has created more complications than it has solved. While the film takes on the shape of a familial drama, Love is Strange is ultimately buoyed by the effortless charms of its two leads – John Lithgow and Alfred Molina.

After 39 years together, Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina) are finally tying the knot. Their friends and family share in their joy following the ceremony. However, their joy is short-lived as George is dismissed from his job as a music teacher at a Catholic school after the archdiocese have gotten word of George’s homosexuality. With money getting tight, George and Ben must sell their apartment and seek more affordable housing. A solution is found but at a cost. Ben is invited to say with his nephew, Elliot (Darren E. Burrows), and his wife, Kate (Marisa Tomei), having to share the lower half of a bunk bed with their moody teenage son, Joey (Charlie Tahan). George, on the other hand, is staying on the couch of a gay couple of cops, Ted and Roberto (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez). Now George and Ben have to figure out the harsh terrain of their future and New York’s housing market, all while trying not to overstep their bounds within the confines of their new living situation.

Love is Strange is as frustrating in moments as it is charming in others. When the screen is occupied by Lithgow and Molina together, they play off one another like they’ve been together for nearly 4 decades. When the film, by design, separates the two, it becomes something much more familiar, blending an uninteresting family drama with an understated coming of age story. Following their forced separation, the film follows Ben’s travails with his extended family more closely than George’s excursion into a busy, loud household. The film also hints at a larger social commentary, however, these only take the shape as plot contrivances – George’s faith and the difference between Catholic dogma and the views of congregation; the availability of affordable housing for seniors in a competitive marketplace like New York.

Leading the supporting cast is Marisa Tomei, who feels sadly underutilized as the frustrated mother, wife, and writer. As Tomei’s angst-riddled son, Charlie Tahan can come across as grating, but that very well could be the nature of his character. None of the supporting characters are bad, per se, but none of them come close to level that Molina and Lithgow are working on.

The script by Sachs and co-writer Mauricio Zacharias never finds the perfect balance between its main story and its varied subplots. The film does remain likeable throughout, just in a light, affable way. The film is set to the piano of Frédéric Chopin, and Sachs’ direction shows glimpses of Woody Allen, a lot of long takes in narrow New York apartment hallways. The digital cinematography by Christos Voudouris is as vibrant I’ve seen from a digital production, none of that distracting digital noise that occurs in low light.

Despite its moments of frustration, Love is Strange floats by on the charms of its two leads. It’s a clinic on how two great actors can perfectly understand the tone of the material and play it perfectly, even if the material isn’t the greatest. I could just watch Lithgow and Molina bicker at each other while trying to get a cab for 90 minutes.

 

Love is Strange is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics and opens in New York and Los Angeles on August 22nd. The film will expand to other cities in the following weeks. More information here.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Blake Crouch and Matt Tolmach Talk ‘Dark Matter’ Coming to AppleTV+ – Interview

‘Dark Matter‘ a science fiction thriller series based on the novel...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...