Film Review: Celebrating the Ordinary Couple in ‘Love is Strange’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – It is a time, and the time is now. Leave it to filmmaker Ira Sachs to break a barrier simply by having the right timing. Exploring a long time gay couple, right at the cusp of their now-legal marriage, opens the door to an odd series of ordinary circumstances in “Love is Strange.” Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The karma of what the marriage does is the main theme of the film, as employment, family relationships and housing are affected by the opening of the nuptial Pandora’s box. That is not to say the event itself is controversial, but what happens when one thing leads to another afterward, is so simple and human. The acting in the film – led by Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as the couple – expresses a truth about how all can seem well when everything is aligned, and how discombobulated our souls become when that normalcy is challenged. The twist is that the challenge has nothing to do with attitudes toward the gay couple, and more to do with the everyday foibles of human life.

Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina) have been together for 39 years. In accordance with a new era in their lives, they decide to get married. This pleases their relatives, like Ben’s sister Kate (Marisa Tomei), nephew Joey (Charlie Tahan) and other assorted friends who celebrate their wedding day. An errant picture on Facebook begins a new realm of fate.

George works as a choir master for a Catholic high school. When the priest principal sees pictures of the marriage online, the Church has no choice but to fire him. This causes a rift in the couple’s finances, which eventually forces them to move to separate quarters in space-challenged New York City, until they can secure new housing. Ben moves to Kate’s house, and George moves in with some friends. The newlyweds are separated for the first time in their lives.

“Love is Strange” continues its limited release in Chicago on August 29th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Charlie Tahan, Cheyanne Jackson and John Cullum. Written by Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias. Directed by Ira Sachs. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Love is Strange”

Alfred Molina, Ira Sachs, John Lithgow
Everybody’s Talking: George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow) in ‘Love is Strange’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Love is Strange”

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