Sony Pictures Classics
Ahh, the wedding movie. It doesn’t matter how old, or how sexually preferenced the to-be-betrothed are — once we take in those familiar sights and sounds, the same feeling comes rushing back. The early morning jitters. The cordial, yet heart-softening classical music. The phrase “We are gathered here today…” There’s no use fighting the cliches, Love Is Strange. Once director Ira Sachs plants both feet in wedding territory, he must follow wedding movie tradition and introduce something horrible to disrupt this picturesque moment. Will it be hordes of big fat Greek family members? A rogue planet headed on a collision course with Earth?
Before long, the trailer gives us the answer: Love Is Strange is in a gay recession.
“Gay,” because the film’s two leads are a pair of elderly men (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina) who are very much in love. And “recession,” because when the gay wedding in question causes George (Molina) to lose his Catholic Church employment, the money runs dry, the economy hits hard and the two are forced to take on sitcom-style living arrangements. One shacks up with a pair of party-hardy gay cops, the other shuffles off to live on the bottom bunk of a distant family bunk bed.
And once Love Is Strange‘s trailer gets that pesky exposition out of the way, we see the real meat of the film: Lithgow and Molina, doing stuff. And things. They’ll sleep. They’ll talk on the phone. They’ll eat dinner at times of the day they never used to eat dinner at. That’s it, really. According to the reviews, that’s the movie.
“Constructed almost entirely of in-between moments” says The Hollywood Reporter. “The film proceeds as a series of simple, quietly observant scenes,” echoes Movie Mezzanine.
Of course, if you’ve rummaged through enough reviews to find a few “the whole movie is just people doing household chores and sleeping” quotes, you’ve certainly found that Love Is Strange is a critical darling. Right now, it’s boasting a neat 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which, given that it only has twelve reviews right now, will probably change once the film gets a real release in August. But still, that hundred is enough to convince at least one friend to see it with you.
According to the dozen reviews we have so far, the film’s biggest weapon is Lithgow and Molina, who capture the soft, lived-in love of aging romance in a way Grumpy Old Men never could. So long as Love Is Strange still has a “stinky backseat fish” scene, I’ll be satisfied.
Love is Strange releases on August 22nd.