(Written for Filmoria)
Directed and co-written by Ira Sachs, alongside writer Mauricio Zacharias, Love Is Strange follows elderly couple Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) who, after nearly four decades living together in lower Manhattan, finally tie the knot.
We’re yet to be bombarded by films scripted around the new laws of same-sex marriage, so it’s wonderful to see that one of the first films to be set around this long-awaited change is a meaningful drama full of depth, and not just a heartless comedy.
Love Is Strange introduces us to Ben and George as they hit a bump in the road. After George loses his job, the couple are forced to sell their apartment and live apart with friends until they can afford a home of their own.
But living with friends and family isn’t always the welcoming party that you would imagine, and living apart certainly isn’t an easy task. With this premise in mind, you may be picturing happy families around huge dinner tables, nights drinking wine and a lot of laughter. But Love Is Strange isn’t a comedy, it’s a drama. Of course there are moments of humour and closeness, but family don’t always have the room or time to take on the responsibility of somebody else. And letting somebody else into your may just open up the problems that already exist.
Through flawless acting from the whole cast, a lot of the time without any dialogue needed, there is so much emotion and many unseen thoughts that you can feel throughout every scene.
Lithgow and Molina, especially, are exceptional. Watching them together is like seeing your own grandparents in love with each other after many years together; like catching them in a moment of true emotion that makes you want to find somebody to grow old with, too.
Their relationship is genuine and completely heart-warming to watch, and, although it’s not always an easy ride, their relationship is honest and progresses as life really does, which you can never fault.
But I must ask: is love strange? It’s strange in the way that it can make us behave, I suppose. But I don’t think that that’s what this film is about. Love Is Strange reflects that love is forgiving, love is eternal, love brings all kinds of people together and all times of life, and, most of all, love is the hardest yet most rewarding thing we will ever experience in our lives.
Love Is Strange is set to be released on DVD on 15th June.
DVD extras include the trailer and a lovely Making Of video titled ‘What Is Love?’. The video combines behind the scenes videos on-set with interviews off-set with the director about why he made the film, and with the cast about working together, why they chose to work with Sachs, and how they feel about their characters.