This week I look at reviews of Love is Strange, starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a gay couple, who, after being together for 39 years, get married. Shortly thereafter, Molina’s character loses his job and they can no longer afford to pay their mortgage. So they sell their apartment and put themselves on a wait list for senior or middle-class housing. While they wait, where should they live? They decide to live in two separate households. The movie is about the dynamics between them while they live apart as well as those between each husband and his host.
Wall Street Journal
Review by Joe Morgenstern
It contains the a perfect example of verbiage that’s a RED FLAG warning of trouble ahead (as in an imminent spoiler). It’s tricky because it is smack in the middle of a sentence:
The cinematographer was Christos Voudouris, who captures the movie’s most touching moment. It’s–
WARNING! AVERT YOUR EYES! DO NOT READ ANOTHER WORD! He’s about to tell you the movie’s most touching moment!
Bottom Line: The movie is not believable. A true Wall Street Man, Morgenstern cannot get over how low they sold the apartment for. (It takes place in Manhattan.)
Comment: I caught an inaccuracy! Morgenstern states that the couple has been together for 20 years. Read some other reviews and it is obvious that he’s way off. They have been together for 39 years. (I feel really good about myself. I’m sure this is obvious, but I’m quite clever.)
Orange County Register
Review by Michael Srago
Bottom Line: Grade B. The acting is terrific, the story weak.
Comment: Srago objects to some of the plot line because two sophisticated artsies (Lithgow plays an painter, Molina a music teacher) should be creative enough to find a solution to their financial problems:
Isn’t leading a cultured life supposed to make you imaginative and resourceful? Not in “Love Is Strange,” an affecting, oddly awkward movie about an artistic and surprisingly helpless New York couple – painter Ben (John Lithgow) and music teacher George (Alfred Molina).
Their solution is creative. Just not the good kind of creative.
Review by Dana Stevens
Spoilers: Where do I begin? Spoilers here, spoilers there, spoilers spoilers everywhere! Her opinion is only in two sentences. To support those two sentences, she spares us nothing, including how the ending unfolds.
More RED FLAG verbiage. She starts a sentence out like this:
In one of the best scenes,–
WARNING! AVERT YOUR EYES! DO NOT READ ANOTHER WORD! She is about to describe one of the best scenes!
Bottom Line: Once you get over the somewhat unbelievable premise, this is a “quietly enchanting romantic drama….a delight to watch unfold….[and] one of the best romances I’ve seen all year.”
Comment: Stevens really hams it up–this is her last sentence: All the actors except Burrows are so sharp, and the dramatic outline so fuzzy, the movie is like a botched pointillist painting.
First she stereotypes artists and then she jumps into their world with her clever metaphor. Is she taking liberty with art’s very soul? (I don’t quite know what that means, but something doesn’t sit well with me.)