Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson on Love is Strange – but the picture above alone makes me think it could potentially be a player in some fashion, the who/what/where of it:
Last year, the first film I saw at the Tribeca Film Festival was the graceful, rueful, altogether entrancing Before Midnight. A lovely, summery, only slightly stinging story about love and time, it was a perfect way to start the festival. And, wouldn’t you know it, the first film I’ve seen at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which began yesterday and runs through next weekend, is the lovely, summery, and only slightly stinging Love Is Strange, the newest feature from writer/director Ira Sachs, whose intimate Keep the Lights On was a highlight of the 2012 festival. A small movie that nonetheless feels like Sachs’s biggest to date, Love Is Strange simulates real life in the most poignant of ways: breaking your heart while sending it soaring.
The film loosely follows what happens after Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), a couple that’s been together for nearly 40 years, get married in New York City, now that the laws allow them to. George, who is the music director at a Catholic prep school, is quickly dismissed from his job for violating some morality clause in his contract (his marriage got the attention of highers-up in the diocese) and the couple is faced with an ugly reality for any New Yorkers, but especially for people at retirement age: they’re forced to sell their apartment and rely on the hospitality of friends and family while they struggle to find a new home.
James Rocchi writing from Sundance earlier this year:
If “Love Is Strange” were nothing more than as showcase for its performances, it would still be superlative; Lithgow and Molina are perfect not just as Ben and George, but also as the combination they make with each other. It has been noted that early couples say “I love you” with the force of a thousand exploding suns, but that long-standing couples say “I love you” in a way that can also ask, unspoken, if it was you who happened to leave the goddamn garage door open again. That kind of love is rarely seen on film, and hard to portray when it is; Molina and Lithgow make that happen here, with all of the feeling and fights and closeness that a real couple would have.
This is definitely one to keep an eye out for, thanks to Alan for the head’s up.