Tender, bittersweet and shrewdly perceptive, writer-director Ira Sachs‘ romantic drama Love Is Strange starts off as a fine-brush portrait of a marriage and gradually opens out to reveal a bigger canvas of interlinked lives.
It opens with the joyous wedding of lifelong companions Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), two New Yorkers finally getting spliced after 39 years together. Fate, however, quickly throws a spanner in the works and the pair are forced to leave their Manhattan apartment after George gets sacked from his job at a Catholic school.
Reliant on the kindness of family and friends, they are obliged to live apart, painter Ben awkwardly sharing a bedroom with his nephew’s teenage son while music teacher George crashes on the couch of their former neighbours, a pair of party-loving gay cops.
Superbly acted by Lithgow and Molina, and directed with sympathy and insight by Sachs, the ensuing drama is sometimes gently funny, sometimes piercingly sad, and ultimately uplifting.
Certificate 15. Runtime 94 mins. Directors Ira Sachs.