Film Review: Love is Strange

Love is….Chopin
Turbulent times

But most of all, Strange.

Love is Strange is a Drama, directed by Ira Sachs, that depicts of the hardships that same-sex couple, Ben and George, (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina) face following their legal unification.

Usually there is a marriage, a honeymoon and both parties move into the same house where they will remain unless they decide to relocate, or they separate. In this case Ben and George have been co-habiting for years, but when George’s job as a music teacher in a Catholic school is plucked from his grasp by authorities that disapprove of the gay wedding the couple are forced to reside in separate households.

Ira Sachs uses ‘Love is Strange’ as a platform to showcase how marriage is not purely between the 2 individuals that are “gettin’ hitched” it is, in fact, between 2 families, family friends, etc. Ben and George’s family and friends find that their dedication is tested much sooner than they had ever anticipated.

Film Review: Love is Strange

The two ‘lucky’ families that are each asked to house one half of the newlyweds are Ben’s nephew, Elliot (Darren Burrows) and George’s cop friends, Ted (Cheyenne Jackson) and Roberto (Manny Perez). One of the many unfortunate realities of life that this film cleverly illustrates is how easy it is love our family and friends from afar but, when push comes to shove and we are compelled to remain in a confined space with them, for a prolonged period, we find that our love is ‘stretched’.

Music is a fundamental component of the film. The beautiful combination of Beethoven’s and Chopin not only sets the mellow tone of the film, but also the pace. LiS is set in the buzzing chaos that is New York City and so the equable tempo of the soundtrack provides a wonderful contrast. Not only is the soundtrack itself heavenly, but it is cleverly intertwined in the film with regards to George’s story. Music is not only his job, but also his life. The piano concertos allow George to escape the harsh realities of his current position and instead appreciate what he has.

It sounds cheesy but I suppose the idea of escaping the unhappiness in our lives by losing ourselves in love, music, a book, etc. is, in itself, inherently cheesy. Love is Strange is an ode to long-standing relationships that continue to flourish, despite the plagues of ill-fortune that the participants face.

Love maybe strange, but sometimes it really is our sole comfort in the face of adversity.

Love is Strange is out in the UK now.

Vix Russell

The name's Russell, Victoria Russell, but please do call me Vix. The things in life that keep me smiling are:- Music (predominantly EDM, but partial to some Einaudi and Country), food, films and dressing up in a morph suit and running around town, imagining that I'm a vigilante. Follow me on Twitter HERE