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Perils of Getting Married When You Are Gay

I watch movies while you are sleeping and live more hours of life than you.

Love in Times of Family Dynamics
Film: Love is Strange
Stars: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei
Genre: Drama

One of the greatest love stories for me isn’t the one that overwhelms me or happens to star crossed lovers but the one that convinces me to love a bit more. This restrained love story between two elderly gays had such depth and believable details. It is a love story in which two protagonists happen to be gays.

Spoilers ahead!

One of the greatest love stories for me isn’t the one that overwhelms me or happens to star crossed lovers but the one that convinces me to love a bit more.

The elderly couple

The elderly couple

The film begins with the wedding day of Ben Hull (Alfred Molina) and George Garea (John Lithgow) who had been together for almost 40 years. It is pretty eminent their friends and well-wishers are quite overwhelmed by their commitment. And then, as misfortune would have it, music director Ben is fired by the church because same-sex marriage is not allowed. They couldn’t afford the apartment after Ben loses his job and they have to find a new one. They have to find a temporary arrangement in the meantime.

George and his niece's son.

George and his niece's son.

Downstairs to their flat, Ben gets a young gay couple as host and George has to put up at his niece’s place.

George shares room with his niece’s teenage son. Apart from his difficult age, he is increasingly becoming aware of the way he is invading his privacy. Ben’s host parties everyday and he is somehow wary of this affair. He stays awake because the sofa is where he sleeps at night.

The film inches carefully and beautifully with Chopin music. As he teaches a young girl piano, Ben at times becomes tearful. Somehow, they get out of this misery of living separately but I’ve always marvel at the thought how Ira Sachs unmistakably avoids drama and tragedy in this movie and even the most tragic thing in it is edited out of the flow.

The film is clearly the triumph of Ira Sachs of how he meticulously captured the gentle softness, the inevitable and the awkwardness of a moment.

I have my favourite scenes in the film. One that clings to me is when the priest asks Ben to pray with him after he tells him that they’re letting him go. Ben reaffirms that this doesn’t shake his faith but he’d rather pray alone.


Another scene is after George finds it too apparent that there is growing tension in his niece’s home because of him and when Ben finds it too hard to bear those parties, he goes to meet George after a long time. It is a gem of a scene how George reacts when he knows.

Though acting of both the artistes were undoubtedly flawless, Marisa Tomei manages to come up between them. The stripper in The Wrestler transforms into a well-adjusted writer here.

This is a brilliant story of an elderly couple executed in e minor. And, Ira Sachs has a new movie now: Little Men. It is already receiving rave reviews. Ira Sachs isn’t too keen on melodrama.