Sorry this one is a bit late everyone, life gets in the way. Yes, I realise that’s a tagline for a 90’s rom-com with heavy-handed Shakespeare overtones. We have reviews coming up for the new series of Vikings, Better Call Saul and of course our regular Constantine feature. As for films, nothing much is out at the moment, so expect more rampant speculation in the near future! Onwards!
Overview: A recently married gay couple (John Lithgow, Alfred Molina) are forced to move into separate households after they lose their home. A quirky love story, trying desperately to avoid the usual run-of-the-mill clichés and clashes. Featuring some superb, classical acting that aims for larger than life characters that are still strangely relate-able, Love Is Strange is one of the year’s stand-out romances.
The Good: It’s enjoyably different. The main characters are a lot older than one would normally expect from this kind of film, and frankly that adds to the appeal. The romance of it all has a different flavour to the “two kids/professionals in their mid thirties who discover true love for the first time” laziness we usually get. There is a rough plot thread, but by the end you realise this film is less about the events and more about the relationship between the main characters and their various family members. This is romance that isn’t constantly focused on the romance, or the various schemes usually concocted around it. Love Is Strange is very refreshing in this sense, it isn’t exactly what you expect it to be. The families involved are well played and believable, and the sets (almost entirely consisting of various flats and houses) serve to emphasise the microcosms of life the film portrays.
The Bad: The focus strays from the relationship a little too much. The families feel like stereotypes, the couple going through a rough patch with a snotty teenage kid, the young gay couple consist entirely of parties and loud music, even during a Dungeons and Dragons game (Which we all know wouldn’t work. I mean really). The teenage kid was particularly frustrating; take a minute. Imagine how a film might portray the average single male child around the age of 15 with two parents he doesn’t see much. Got it? Yeah, that’s pretty much spot on to the film. He’s snotty and argumentative and just irritating on screen. The only other consideration is that it’s hard to distinguish between time jumps. The characters don’t change in appearance and neither do the sets, so when the scene is supposed to be three months later, the only clue comes from dialogue and often that takes a little while. It’s a minor bug bear, but one that gets a little bit disconcerting after a while
All in all, this film is pretty damn good. The main characters are believable, well acted and have a great script to work with. As a romance, Love Is Strange avoids all the usual traps and pitfalls that you’d usually expect, and as a comedy it’s both subtle and clever. Definitely worth a watch.