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Love Is Strange

Ben (played by John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are two men living in NYC who have been together in relationship for nearly 40 years. At the beginning of the film, we see them get married with friends and family surrounding them. Soon after, George loses his job as a choir director; Ben is retired and drawing a pension, so they must sell their apartment. While trying to find something else that is affordable, George moves in with friends and Ben movies in with his nephew’s family. The movie is quite remarkable in its ordinariness. It is a slow movie that feels so real in many ways – at the very beginning, the Ben losing his glasses just before the wedding; the strain on the relationship that happens due to the separation and the little ways that love shines because of it; the effect of older relatives and friends on the lives of younger people; the difficulties of change (and growing older) that we all do or will experience. The characters seem so real (sometimes almost too real) – John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are excellent; Marisa Tomei is the wife of the Ben’s nephew and is stretched to the breaking point; and Joey, her son, an angry teenager whose presence is a pillar in the movie (and has one of the best scenes near the end of the movie). While all performances were wonderful, John Lithgow is the standout. Big thumbs up for a movie that is about a gay couple and relationships but in the end is a film that easily speaks to all of us. (2014; 4.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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