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Movie Review: 'Love Is Strange'

'Love Is Strange' star John Lithgow
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Love Is Strange


Love is strange and quite frankly, in this movie, there are moments where it can be pretty depressing. Lasting love isn’t made of all rainbows and cupcakes. Sometimes there is are rainy days when you lose your job and have to live with other people, taking residence on their couches. Such is the case in “Love Is Strange” starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina.

Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina) decide to marry after nearly 40 years spent together and as a result of this union, George is promptly fired from the Catholic academy where he is a choir leader. This starts the unraveling of a series of unfortunate events that lead to Ben and George having to vacate the apartment they’ve built their life in, lean on their friends and family to sleep at separate places, and endure the inconvenience and uncomfortable feeling of being long-term houseguests. Oh, not to mention that they are newlyweds who don’t get to spend their time together in wedded bliss.

The trailer for this film is misleading. What seemed like a quirky, yet mostly happy tale of an older couple solidifying their love really is a melancholy tale of what happily ever after can, and more often does, mean. In short, the “ever after” without the “happily” is how love stories of today should end, if we’re being honest at all.

There are sweet moments of the film with solid performances from both Lithgow and Molina and an underutilized Marisa Tomei as Ben’s niece-in-law. What begins as a lovely relationship of two men who can finally legalize their union quickly dissipates into the hardships of family and the lengths we go to protect them, care for them, love them, and ultimately, let them go.

The movie steers off into a different direction for the second half of the film. It concentrates more on Ben’s teenage great-nephew, Joey (Charlie Tahan) who is facing his own coming-of-age struggles and not enjoying sharing his room and company of his new elderly roommate.

However, that’s just a side story, and the movie is really about sweet Ben and his equally kind partner, George. They lived the “rest of their lives” together before their marriage in a time that seemed much simpler. Love is not only strange, it also appears to be unfair.

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