Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Love Is Strange Review

Come And Get Your Love
What a true title. Love is, indeed, strange. It's a concept that's inspired all forms of media ranging from poems to paintings to web shorts. In the realm of cinema, the best movie of 2013, Her, showcased love's strangeness in a beautiful manner, and now another very high quality feature has come around to prove such a point. Love Is Strange centers around the romance between Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), two men who have been together for multiple decades.

Their recent marriage has led to George losing his job at a religion based school, leading them to financial turmoil that forces them to lose their home. The film focuses from there on their search for a home and a new job for George, as well as the family conflict residing from Ben's family, whom he's staying with while he and his husband search for a new home. Such a smaller plotline is to the movies benefit, as it allows a chance for a more realistic storytelling environment for the characters to inhabit.

Within the plot, Ben and George aren't motivated by dramatic contrivances like an affair or heated arguments, but rather by the everyday trails and tribulations life brings. Through it all, the two still keep their love alive despite all the setbacks they experience. Seriously, I cannot stress enough how nice it is to see a couple of some kind in a movie that gets along, that acts in a reasonable, adult manner. These two characters show obvious affection for each other, thanks both to the sharp writing of Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias and the incredible dynamic between Molina and Lithgow, and it just makes the film that much more enjoyable to watch.

It's also great to watch these two as characters on their own, as the script never pigeonholes them into stereotypes, instead creating them as fully fleshed out characters who have moments of bravery and weakness. For instance, George is consistently a figure of bravery in the face of adversity, but in a scene where he goes the house of Ben's family, and sobs in Ben's arms, the moment hits like a ton of bricks. To see this vulnerability from the character is astonishing, especially since Molina plays the bit in a manner that keeps it from feeling over-the-top.

John Lithgow finds similar success in his role of Ben. Lithgow has to be one of the most likable presences in Hollywood, and it's been great to see him having a bit of a resurgence in recent years. Here, he demonstrates why he's such a great actor, creating a presence of calmness within the household of tensions he's staying in. As I said earlier, Lithgow and Molina have an excellent dynamic that feels at once real and sweet; their scenes together, like a late night trip to a bar near the end of the movie, are some of the feature's best moments. And that's saying something, considering how jam-packed Love Is Strange is with moments of true power and beauty. 

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