Love is Strange Review: A Love Letter to Love

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As far as LGBT films go, Love is Strange is a lot like The Kids Are All Right in that it’s more about family and love than the issues that plague same-sex couples still in 2014.

That’s not to say the issues aren’t there. The opening scene has Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) getting married after 39 years together. Immediately after, George is fired from his job as a Catholic school music teacher because the Archdiocese does not support gay marriage.

But, this film mostly being a character piece, the scene is redirected into a brilliantly written definition of George’s character. His former boss asks him to pray with him and that he shouldn’t question his faith. George replies, “I believe in my lord and savior Jesus Christ, but at the moment, I would prefer to pray alone.” Molina is seemingly all-powerful in the scene, only to later show us how much support he gets from his husband as he cries in his arms at a later point.

Ben and George actually spend most of the movie apart. With Ben retired and George looking for work, they lose their apartment and are forced to stay with younger friends and relatives they call family. Their individual reactions with their hosts are great to watch, having an all-too-real feel. But the few scenes that they do come together for are among the most beautiful recreations of love ever put on the big screen. They flirt, they bicker, they reminisce. There’s no question that these two were meant for each other.

It’s a shame though that the final scene betrays the subtlety of the rest of the film with an overlong shot intended to make you feel and then a cheesy ride off into the sunset. For the most part, the film sticks the landing anyway, but those last couple of shots stick out like a sore thumb.

They are really the only negative thing I can point out about this movie. Up until then, Love is Strange is powerful, well-acted, and almost lyrical. Twenty years ago, who would have thought the story of two old gay guys would be the most romantic movie of the year? Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to Love is Strange Review: A Love Letter to Love

  1. SherryAva says:

    This was a lovely movie. Sweet, humorous and with a touch of honesty that most viewers could connect to. Unfortunately, the quality of the movie was diminished by an abrupt ending that left those of us viewing this film with many unanswered questions.

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