Sydney Film Festival: Love is Strange (2014)

Love is Strange (2014)Love is Strange resembles a gay version of Tokyo Story filtered through Woody Allen’s wry, New Yorker worldview except, unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as great as that sounds.

After thirty nine years together, George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow) take the opportunity to legally recognise their relationship in matrimony. Legal acceptance doesn’t necessarily translate to social acceptance, however, and the couple are forced to sell their apartment and move in with their family; George with consistently-festive cop Ted (Cheyenne Jackson) and Ben with writer Kate (Marisa Tomei). Complications ensue, especially with Kate’s teenage son and his mysterious bond with an older boy.

There’s the potential for something interesting here, but Love is Strange meanders through its slim narrative without establishing a clear purpose or interesting form. Lithgow and Molina are great, but are only granted rare opportunities to demonstrate their warm chemistry. The aforementioned complications never seem to amount to anything (unless you consider pointing at the title and shrugging “anything”). The Ozu-analogues come thick and fast in the back half, as the film contemplates the burden of family and the commingled joys and perils of aging. There’s some poignancy here, but it’s muddled by the film’s ambling ambiguities.

2.5 stars

One thought on “Sydney Film Festival: Love is Strange (2014)

  1. Pingback: Sydney Film Festival Roundup | ccpopculture

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