There’s an aristocratic quality to Love Is Strange. Everyone is nicely dressed in houses and restaurants that could all be rated five-stars. Characters laugh at high-brow jokes and mild-mannerly talk about “the classics”. Love Is Strange is a film so tidy, that you kind of want to scowl at it. But, the film is far too sweet and performed with accomplishment to feel such resentment towards Ira Sachs’ film.
Ben and George have been together for ever but were never married. When they finally take that next step, their family supports the decision however, George (played by Alfred Molina) finds himself in a tough situation when his place of work isn’t too pleased with his life choices.
Ben (played by John Lithgow) is older, which has him more prone to health issues. The issues that Ben faces add more challenges to their relationship as George searches for another job, and the two men bunk with family and friends when they can’t afford their comfortably homey apartment.
Love is Strange doesn’t have a whole lot of flare to it. Scenes have been captured by a competent cinematographer, but Sachs’ visual style is often flat – offering very little to wow our eyes. But, Ira Sachs’ movie, however, is strictly a stage for fine performances. Molina and Lithgow are great together, and they’re able to hold their own when separated. Their warm support made up of roles played by Marisa Tomei, Cheyenne Jackson, Darren E. Burrows, Charlie Tahan, and others add their own special individuality. All the love that’s helping hold up Ben and George’s positivity have separate voices instead of queuing into one steamrolling block of feel-good sentimentality.
To me, the only thing that’s strange about Love is Strange is how Sachs and co-screenwriter Mauricio Zacharias wrap everything up with a disappointing shortcut and lazy editing. I shan’t give away the ending but conclusions and character exclusions have been written in ways that suggest the script is either missing pages or the screenwriting duo got tired towards the final leg of their pre-production. Personally, this flaw was enough to send me in a huff about a film I was feeling serene towards otherwise.