Love is Strange tells the story of a same-sex couple whose lives become difficult after getting married. As a time which should be filled with joy and happiness, George (Alfred Molina) instead loses his job as music teacher at a catholic school, and he and his financially dependent partner of thirty nine years Ben (John Lithgow), are forced to move out of their apartment. Taking refuge with their family and friends, they must live separately in a type of enforced separation. There is no happily ever after, and there is a distinct feeling of deep humiliation for the later in life couple. It is almost like a love story told in reverse, despite the initial marriage.
The film offers an examination of love and relationships put under stress, not only for Ben and George, but of their family and friends as well. The focus lies on the day-to-day, where the realities of life and of living in love is in focus, rather than the coming together. Ben and George are portrayed as individuals in a relationship, existing without co-dependence, reminding us that which we all are: committed individuals. The film also offers a social commentary on the legalisation of gay-marriage in the US: it may be permitted, but it is still not condoned by all levels of society.
Love is Strange is sweet, sad and humoristic in parts, with the actors giving heartfelt and honest performances. However, the film feels slow and disjointed, and the omission of a key scene (arguably its most dramatic moment), makes the audience feel oddly removed from the action of the plot. The film’s pathos is not realised to its full potential, which is a shame, given the portrayals the actors deliver. Overall, the Love is Strange is perceptive and sophisticated, offering plenty food for thought.