Love is Strange

Love is Strange

(2014)

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina lead this New York drama as a newlywed couple facing sudden economic hardship. Co-stars Marisa Tomei.... More

After 39 years together, Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina) take advantage of the new marriage laws and tie the knot in a City Hall wedding in lower Manhattan. On the return from their honeymoon, however, and on account of their vows, Ben gets fired from his long-time job as a choir director for a co-ed Catholic school. Suddenly, with no real savings to count on, the couple can’t afford the rent on their small Chelsea apartment.

Deciding to temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home, George moves in with two cops who live downstairs while Ben lands in Brooklyn with his family. While struggling with living apart, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements.Hide

Flicks Review

It's hard to picture a more charming screen couple than John Lithgow and Alfred Molina. Who wouldn't want to spend 90 minutes in their company? Besides this casting coup, and the (presumably substantial) difficulties of financing a film about elderly gay men, Ira Sach's genteel effort must be considered a missed opportunity, maybe worse.... More

Lithgow and Molina are long-term lovers living an arty, affluent life in upper-middle class Manhattan. Lithgow's a painter, Molina a music teacher, and among their close relatives are a novelist (Marisa Tomei) and a film-maker (Darren E Burrows), although we rarely see anyone's actual work, despite how much they talk about it.

When Molina loses his job, their flat goes too, and the pair find themselves cast upon the generosity of – separate – family members. Herein lies the crux of the problem. For most of the film, the two leads are kept cruelly apart, although the few scenes where they rebel and reunite are sweetly watchable.

Unfortunately the rest of the cast range from insufficiently interesting to totally insufferable. And whichever way you slice it, most of the conversations are about the difficulties of finding affordable NYC housing, a niche concern if ever there was one.

Even if you're prepared to gloss over these annoyances, the whole enterprise is all but sunk by two heinous screenwriting crimes. One, which we won't spoil for you, is a momentous event that occurs – inexplicably – offscreen. The other is a cheat of such epic proportions it makes all that's come before it seem pointless, which no amount of charm can solve.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 4 reviews
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BY GDAldridge superstar

Brilliant leads and a serious storyline - great evening's viewing


BY freshdude superstar

Married! After thirty-nine years together , George and Ben formalize their union. Around them New York friends and family are enthusiastic , both for the longevity of their story and for the legal happy ending. But this displayed happiness costs George his job: discreet homosexuality is fine, but marriage isn't, as explained by the Catholic school headmaster that employed him as a music teacher. The old young couple finds themselves temporarily homeless, or rather dependants on parents and... More friends who host them, but separately.

Alfred Molina and John Lithgow are excellent at playing the two husbands put to the test: rare non stereotypical gay figures on the screen, with agonizing questions (" If I never sell any paintings, will you still love me ?" Asks Ben the unsuccessful painter to his companion ), but also a lot of humour and a life of struggle and social change behind them.
The film is a fine and ultimately tender reflection on family in its most contemporary meaning , and love in the broadest sense.Hide


BY Deb superstar

Part of the experience of a movie, especially one about relationship, is being a voyeur. You can be a comfortable voyuer or an uncomfortable one. Something about the welcoming introduction of tis movie makes you the viewer feel very welcome. While I guess people will call it a gay movie its so much more than that as the actors around the main characters ries and take and own the stage in turn. The urban landscape and cramped lving spaces are contrasted to big skys and skylines, you find... More yourself looking wiht the painters eye at much of the relief of the story. Quite a lovely experience.Hide


BY Gaspardation superstar

The film is not about life. It's life itself. Not a gay life, not a straight life, but human life. Two men are holding each other not for the sake of sex but for the habit of company. Love is strangly soothing.


The Press Reviews

95% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • It's an essential-and essentially New York-story about limited room, limited time but incalculable attachment. Full Review

  • A sprawling yet intimate narrative, constructed almost entirely of in-between moments rather than the big turning points and tragedies. Full Review

  • Beautifully observed ensembler shines on the strength of its two leads, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina. Full Review

  • One of those quiet movies that sneaks up and punches you in the face, just as you were thinking "What does any of this add up to?" Full Review

  • The story of George and Ben seems to have been plucked from a meadow of narrative possibilities; an interesting movie could have been made about everybody in this one. Full Review

  • Finds the drama in any moment without pushing too hard, and uses small details to bring relationships into focus. Full Review