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“Love Is strange” could have, and would have, been an excellent movie. By no means is the movie a long one, running one hour and forty minutes, but seems much longer. Director Ira Sachs, who isn’t an amateur by any means, includes ’artistic’ scenes that aren’t necessary, which slows the movie down , instead of concentrating and telling a bit more of the two main characters stories.

Ben, (John Lithgow), and George, (Alfred Molina), could be any couple who have been together for 39 years. The film opens on the day of their marriage, which has separated them from being ‘any couple’, celebrated with family and friends. The two actors are completely believable in their roles from how they interact with and towards each other, warts and all. Unfortunately George teaches music at a Catholic school where they know about the couple but with the marriage George has made a public ‘statement’ and he is fired. Ben is retired and to get the movie going they are forced to separate, temporarily, after they have to sell their condo.

George goes to live with the two gay policemen, Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez, living on the floor below them who party, always have the TV going and play loud music while George likes peace and quiet. Ben moves in with his nephew, Elliot, (Darren Burrows), his wife, Kate ((Marisa Tomei) and their teenage son Joey (Charlie Tahan), the latter given a ‘red herring’ storyline. Elliot is very seldom home, Kate works from home and being a teenage Joey and his friend Vlad, Eric Tabach, want to be alone in the former’s room, where Ben sleeps in the lower bed of a bunk bed, though why, being an only child, there is a bunk bed is never explained. Ben is use to George always being there for him, to listen to him and fill the many needs he has.

As we get to feel the loneliness, the strain of living apart between George and Ben, we understand Ben’s saying, “Sometimes when you live with people, you get to know them better than you want/care to.” Through many small moments we get to know the deepness of the men’s relationships and, though on a smaller scale, the relationships of others.

There are no big dramatic moments in “Love Is Strange” on screen but two major developments take place off screen robbing the audience which would have added much more to the film than the 3 not needed artistic scenes.

The actors are all first rate but it is the natural performances of Lithgow and Molina that make this a film worth seeing. I am sure they will be remembered come award time. They make their small moments all seem meaningful, allowing us to get to know them as individuals and as a couple.

“Love Is Strange” is one of the better gay themed films but more than being a ’gay’ film it is a film about love between two people and is for all old married couples, young couples or singles who want to be just that.

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