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Sunday, April 27, 2014

LOVE IS STRANGE


By D.E.Levine

When George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow) finally legalize their almost 40-year relationship with a marriage ceremony, the catholic Catholic church that has overlooked his non-marital relationship for decades, immediately fires the long-time music director.

Unable to find adequate employment, faced with increasing financial problems, the two aging men are forced to sell the co-op they've lived in for years and split up to live with others.  The same people who attended their wedding are now asked to offer them lodging.

Ben, a painter, moves in with his nephew's family and shares a room with their son.  The boy isn't thrilled to be sharing his room and extra bunk with a 75-year old man.  And his nephew's wife, Kate (Marisa Tomei) is pushed to the limit by trying to balance her role as wife, mother and novelist with the new role of caregiver.  Even though Ben is loved, his presence is a strain.

George moves in with friends in their building, young, gay police officers, and sleeps on the couch in their living room.  After continual rejections in his job and apartment hunts, George returns home nightly to find his young hosts partying and noisily entertaining and playing loud music.  It's impossible for him to turn in and/or to get any rest.  After spending almost 40 years living and sleeping together, George is extremely lonely and depressed.  And there doesn't seem to be a solution.

Now separated, every time George and Ben manage to meet, their meetings and partings become increasingly more painful.  Ira Sachs directs a tender film about marriage, aging in New York City and trying to survive financially.  In this instance, the marriage happens to be gay but the focus of the film is not about gay marriage but about relationships and the hypocrisy that exists under the surface of the seemingly accepting society.