Film review: Love Is Strange

Danielle Woodward reviews Love Is Strange, directed by Ira Sachs


Film review: Love Is Strange

Four decades into their relationship, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) can finally marry. However, their vows are tested when George loses his job and the couple are forced to live apart, relying on friends and family to take them in.

A realistic portrayal of 21st-century love and family relationships, the film doesn’t gloss over conflict and stress – even New York as featured in the film looks gritty and unkempt. Kate's (Marisa Tomei) and her husband Elliot's (Darren Burrows) family life is put under strain when they take in Ben – as parents of a distant and sullen teenage son Charlie (Charlie Tahan), they are wrapped up in their own lives and clashing with each other. Elliot is never at home and when he is, he is busy with work; Kate is trying to write her next novel but keeping in top of the chores, entertaining Ben and making sure Charlie is OK is sending her over the edge.

The film starts off joyful, as everyone celebrates George and Ben’s wedding, but when reality creeps in and they are forced to support them in difficult times, the cracks start to show. In this world of fragile relationships, George and Ben’s love for each other appears the strongest, but that is also not perfect, as we discover Ben has chosen to put up with George’s infidelity for years.

Moving and touching, Molina and Lithgow give great performances and although there is a lot of sadness, the sun still shines on the next generation at the end – showing that love is always there to be discovered and treasured.

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