John Lithgow and Alfred Molina deliver wonderful, sensitively attuned performances in Ira Sachs’ warmhearted drama Love is Strange. Portraying an older gay couple living in a gorgeous NYC apartment when they’re suddenly and unexpectedly forced to move out, the film takes a simple and observant look at the lives of these two dapper, eccentric, and compassionate people, and the various individuals that they come into daily contact with. The two men have also decided, that after 39 years of living together, that it’s time to get married. But when Molina is fired from his job at a Catholic school because of his decision to marry, their entire life is turned upside down as a result, as they’re forced to temporarily split up and live with either friends or family until they can get things sorted out.
Filled with honest humor, a quiet sense of grace, and the desire to tell a story that’s universal yet very specific at the same time, Love is Strange has an unforced level of dignity about itself that felt very refreshing to experience. The intelligent screenplay, co-written by Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, pokes at the societal hypocrisies that face same-sex couples on a daily basis, and while never preachy, it’s very clear that this is a topic that means something to Sachs as a filmmaker. And while Love is Strange has a surprisingly sad ending, I would hesitate to call it depressing, as it’s yet a further reflection on the fragility of life, and how people should value their friends and loved ones as much as possible as there’s nothing ever guaranteed during our relatively fleeting time on this planet.
Review by Nick Clement