After getting married, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are faced with living apart. George has lost his job, forcing the couple to sell their apartment. They wind up having to live with two different families, George with some neighbours downstairs from them, and Ben with his nephew. While struggling to work through their temporary separation, the two men must also deal with the tension of the families they’re staying with.
Love Is Strange is a sweet and touching movie about adulthood, growing up, commitment and dealing with life. The story of Love Is Strange is fairly simple, so simple that it could have easily been forgettable. What saves this film is the incredible performances from its two leads – Alfred Molina and John Lithgow. Other actors could have easily played these two men as caricatures, but Molina and Lithgow give such effortless performances that it is just a joy to watch for 90 minutes. Here is hoping they receive some recognition this award season as their performances are some of the finest of the year.
The rest of the film outside of the main performances is kind of limp. The supporting cast is solid, with a good performance from Marissa Tomei, but her character is mostly a plot device to help advance the main characters. It’s not offensively underdeveloped or that much of a deterrent to the quality of the whole film, but there could have been something more. However, this is a story about a couple who have married and are dealing with what comes after that chapter, and all of that is well done. Once again, this is enhanced by the performances from the leads.
It should also be noted that the film opens and ends with two really great scenes. Of course, everything that happens in between is mostly solid, but the opening scene and the final scene are really great bookends to this story. It’s wonderfully shot and competently directed. Movies set in New York can sometimes be grating with familiar angles and scenery but the way this was shot almost makes it feel fresh again.