Love is Strange

Here we have a long-time couple, 40 years, who finally get married. Problem is, George, a teacher at a Catholic school, is fired as a result. The school always knew he was gay, but his marriage is a public declaration, so they can't keep him on the payroll. The first thing that happens is that our heroes are forced to sell their apartment. Unexpected fees and service charges leave them with far less money than they planned.

Director Ira Sachs working from a script he co-wrote with Mauricio Zacharias ("Keep the Lights On") shows us the turbulent results of a life-altering event like this when a couple is no longer young.

His cast includes:
  • Alfred Molina ("Chocolat") is George, suddenly unemployed, now dependent for any income from a few music students. Housing in New York City being what it is, some neighbors, a couple of policemen, offer to put him up on their couch (they don't have room for two).
  • John Lithgow ("Interstellar") is Ben, a moderately successful painter who has his work in a few galleries. He opts to room with his nephew and his family in Brooklyn. He gets a bottom bunk.
  • Marisa Tomei ("Spare Parts") gives by far the most nuanced performance. As Kate, an author married to Ben's nephew, she shows marvelously controlled exasperation: she is trying to finish her next book but Ben blithely interrupts her over and over.
  • Charlie Tahan ("Blue Jasmine") Joey has to share his bedroom with his dad's Uncle Ben and finds the loss of privacy infuriating.
  • Cheyenne Jackson ("Beyond the Candelabra") Ted is half of the couple who offers their couch to George. Watch him try to explain "Game of Thrones" to George.
Of course, our two lead actors, each married for decades, bring a personal authenticity to their roles that other actors would only hope for. My major problem is with the script: It just feels too contrived. Of course there are moments, as I mentioned earlier, Marisa Tomei is wonderful, but this one left me strangely unmoved.
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Here is a trailer:
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