This weeks LGBT+ movie, Love is Strange, directed by Ira Sachs is about growing old, New York housing issues, family, work, friendships but most of all, it’s about love and how lucky we are to be in love.
After 39 years together, Ben and George portrayed by actors John Lithgow and Alfred Molina get married. They fit together perfectly, helping each other in the best possible ways. Without each other, things are simply not right. But happiness does not last in this movie as George loses his job as a choir director at a Catholic school and with the loss of income, Ben and George have to sell their co-op and crash on their friend’s couches as they look for new housing in the brutal New York real estate market. It is the separation and the effects of such separation is what makes this movie the sad and heart-breaking beauty it is.
What I loved most about this movie was the relationship between Ben and George and despite not seeing them fall in love, audiences can see the palpable love and friendship between them. From the scene at the wedding where Ben and George are singing and playing the piano to the phone calls and the breakdowns, everything is adorably cute. It breaks your heart watching them attempt to fight the problems around them but still keep what is most important between them: love.
Love is Strange is a movie that is quiet, meaningful and deep and although it lacks a lot of action, resting primarily on its dialogue, thus lending itself to criticism of slowness, this movie deals with themes every teenager and adult needs from a film. For example, the conversation between Ben and Joey regarding what it means to be in love, how you know you’ve fallen in love etc etc touched my heart in the best possible way. And that’s all I ask when I go into movies such as these.
However, this film does have its flaws. For example, a lot of what happens isn’t explained thoroughly and either I’m extremely dumb and didn’t get the hidden meaning but at times I was extremely confused. For example, the French books. What was the purpose of the whole stealing, hiding, arguing…the relevance at all? Who is the kid in the painting at the end? Did Ben and George adopt a child? These are scenes I would have loved to have seen in the movie even if I had to sit and watch another 30 minutes.
Finally, the biggest flaw with this movie is the Vlad and Joey storyline. The movie builds up this blossoming romance between the two and yet, Joey’s ending completely disregards the rest of the movie. My first thought was: what was the point? It was a wasted sub-plot and If this was dealt with better, this movie would have got a higher rating.
Overall, though, this is a gorgeous film and Alfred Molina and John Lithgow bring such warmth and lived-in texture to a lifelong love.