Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 22, 2014
    100
    You need to give Love Is Strange your eyes and ears and attention, let it work its effects on you gradually, like the lovely Chopin piano music that forms the spine of its soundtrack.
  2. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Aug 21, 2014
    100
    In the hands of two of the craft's best, the most ordinary of moments become illuminating, penetrating.
  3. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Aug 21, 2014
    100
    It's a courageous film that's willing to sit in those moments instead of underlining them or hurrying past them, hoping we get the shorthand. Love is Strange is a patient film. The emotions it unleashes are enormous.
  4. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Aug 21, 2014
    100
    By the time the movie is over, you feel as if the people in it were friends you know well enough to tire of, and to miss terribly when they go away.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Aug 19, 2014
    100
    Sachs and his performers know that the perfect marriage is a thing of phantom beauty — it doesn't exist, yet we persist in believing that someone out there must have it.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe McGovern
    Aug 13, 2014
    100
    Sachs, Molina, and Lithgow have given adult moviegoers a perfect piece of summer counterprogramming — a warm, humane, resplendent romance to savor while our days are still long.
  7. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 27, 2014
    100
    Love Is Strange emerges as a total triumph for Sachs and his co-leads, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, who, despite lengthy filmographies, turn in career-topping work. a sensitive domestic tragedy about the finite nature of any union.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jan 27, 2014
    91
    Love Is Strange is a sophisticated take on contemporary urbanity infused with romantic ideals and the tragedy of their dissolution.
  9. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Jan 20, 2014
    91
    Calling Love Is Strange a great gay love story is both precise and inaccurate; I doubt I’ll see a more finely performed and beautifully crafted love story, with or without any mere modifiers, up on the big screen this year.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 27, 2014
    90
    In addition to the performances — truly, everyone is good — what stands out is Sachs' direction. It's measured, patient. The scenes play out as one imagines the characters' lives would.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jan 27, 2014
    90
    Love Is Strange never feels anything less than authentic, like a true story shared by close friends.
  12. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Sep 10, 2014
    89
    There are many questions raised and answered in this film, but one that isn’t is why on Earth it’s garnered an R rating. Love Is Strange is anything but. It’s a seriocomic romance of the most genteel sort, full of heartfelt “I love yous,” brief (and definitely unerotic) snuggling, and a wealth of tremendously fine acting from all involved.
  13. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Jan 20, 2014
    89
    Throughout the picture you understand the miracle and good fortune of finding love, and recognize the great changes in tolerance American society is currently (albeit slowly) undergoing.
  14. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Sep 12, 2014
    88
    Love Is Strange has a gentleness about it, and an empathy, that inspire.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Sep 4, 2014
    88
    One of those lovely little movies that starts out being about a handful of people and ends up being about all of us. That’s a tricky act to pull off and the talented writer-director Ira Sachs stumbles occasionally over moments of self-conscious lyricism. But then the film recovers its balance, looks at its characters with fondness and with faith, and quietly soars.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 28, 2014
    88
    Do not expect dynamic filmmaking from Love Is Strange. It's about other things, and Lithgow and Molina are splendid, their eyes full of wisdom and experience.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 21, 2014
    88
    Love Is Strange is, above all, a triumph for Lithgow and Molina, two consummate actors who bring decades of experience to artful performances that are as emotionally expressive in silence as they are in words. Acting doesn’t get better than this. Want to know what love is? Watch Lithgow and Molina and learn.
  18. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Sep 18, 2014
    83
    The movie ends so abruptly you might wonder if a piece is missing, and it relies on one extraordinary coincidence I couldn’t swallow. Yet scene by scene, I found people I knew or wish I knew: Ben’s romantic advice to the straight but awkward Joey would give any boy confidence about himself.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 22, 2014
    83
    The living-apart scenario is contrived – there was no way for these men to share a space somewhere? – but the two actors are so good that it doesn’t much matter.
  20. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Aug 20, 2014
    83
    Setting several scenes to the famously poignant plinks of pianist Frédéric Chopin, Love Is Strange never achieves the sheer emotional resonance of "Make Way For Tomorrow"; it’s gently affecting, not deeply heartbreaking — in part because Sachs builds to a less devastating punctuation than McCarey did.
  21. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Feb 2, 2015
    80
    Molina and Lithgow shine as newlywed grumpy old men in a moving love story that’s also a masterclass in emotional subtlety.
  22. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Feb 2, 2015
    80
    Elevated from nice to beautifully memorable by wonderful performances and thoughtful direction of perfect small moments.
  23. Reviewed by: Ed Frankl
    Sep 22, 2014
    80
    Sachs and Love Is Strange co-writer Mauricio Zacharias craft an intergenerational love story believably told and immaculately acted.
  24. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Aug 22, 2014
    80
    Lithgow and Molina play Ben and George with such depth, tenderness, and history that their affection for one another’s bodies (there’s no sex, but loads of snuggling) seems like a natural extension of their pleasure in being together.
  25. 80
    I think this tale of woe can principally be seen as a plea for a heightened sense of community. It takes a village to keep us all afloat.
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 21, 2014
    80
    After a summer of robots, mutants and explosions, the beautifully honest, grownup Love is Strange is a treat.
  27. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Aug 19, 2014
    80
    Neither Molina nor Lithgow are stranger to big performances, but here, they offer studies in restraint, underplaying dramatic moments in ways that make them all the more powerful.
  28. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Aug 18, 2014
    80
    Love Is Strange, however, is not about gay marriage. It is about a marriage that happens to be gay. If the film grows slightly boring, even that can be construed as an advance.
  29. Reviewed by: Boyd van Hoeij
    Jan 27, 2014
    80
    This is a sprawling yet intimate narrative, constructed almost entirely of in-between moments rather than the big turning points and tragedies.
  30. Reviewed by: Nathalie Atkinson
    Sep 18, 2014
    75
    Throughout, Sachs is quietly observational – the film’s emotional power coming from its rich but unshowy performances.
  31. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Sep 18, 2014
    75
    What makes Love Is Strange so special is that the challenges the couple face are more mundane than menacing.
  32. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Sep 4, 2014
    75
    Sometimes, love can feel like hate or annoyance — it is, as the title states, strange. But sometimes, more often than not, it can be a wonderful thing.
  33. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 28, 2014
    75
    Attention is duly paid in this tender and touching film; the strangest thing about Love Is Strange is how completely un-strange it is, from its familiar family dynamics to its exquisite honesty and compassion.
  34. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Aug 28, 2014
    75
    See Love Is Strange for its sensitivity and understated jokes, but mainly for Lithgow and Molina's expertly modulated work, which pulls the movie back when it threatens to stray into melodrama or heavy-handedness.
  35. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Aug 20, 2014
    75
    Love is Strange is very well worth seeing for its two stars, who acutely convey the pain their characters feel over their separation as well as displaying their considerable comic chops to keep things from getting too grim.
  36. Reviewed by: Matthew Kassel
    Aug 20, 2014
    75
    The most striking thing about the love between Ben and George, the two men the movie focuses on, is how natural it seems.
  37. 63
    None of it adds up to much more than a chuckle or two, a smile or three and a lot of slow, poetically drawn-out moments of mild anguish or the simple delight of walking through Greenwich Village in the spring.
  38. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Aug 18, 2014
    63
    Ira Sachs's push for heartrending poetry makes it clear that the film is putting too fine a gloss on the acute pains of one small tragedy.
  39. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Feb 18, 2015
    60
    [Sachs'] subtle, often quite special film shows us a shared life as a series of impositions: sometimes we’re imposed upon, and sometimes we do the imposing, and love is the net result.
  40. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Aug 21, 2014
    50
    What's on screen, though, is a peculiar clutter of gentle sentiment, awkward dialogue, shaky contrivance — especially the resolution of Joey's feelings — and monotonous performances from a supporting cast that includes Marisa Tomei and Darren Burrows.
  41. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Aug 19, 2014
    50
    Love is Strange boasts an abundance of patience and kindness — but not much of a pulse.
  42. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Oct 3, 2014
    40
    Love is Strange doesn't really have any sort of sense of urgency about it. To the contrary, it feels rather mundane, as their problems -- while both unfortunate and unfair -- feel relatively small when put in perspective.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. Sep 3, 2014
    6
    Despite strong performances all around, believably heartfelt chemistry between the leads and beautiful cinematography, "Love Is Strange"Despite strong performances all around, believably heartfelt chemistry between the leads and beautiful cinematography, "Love Is Strange" nevertheless never reaches its potential. The film incorporates many plot elements that are never fully (nor satisfactorily) resolved (many of which don't feel genuine to start with). Sadly, this disappointing offering doesn't fully make use of the resources it has available to it, coming across like a missed opportunity to chart territory that has never been adequately explored on screen. Full Review »
  2. Oct 6, 2014
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. My husband and I were SO looking forward to seeing this film and just as disappointed. Were Lithgow and Molina in great form? Yes. Does this make it a terrific movie? No. I'm not an idiot; I appreciate movies that feel "real," as if the viewer had dropped in to people's lives at some important moment. But, these particular people? Who cares. Afterwards, my husband and I went to dinner and got hysterical, trying to make sense of what we had just seen. Spoiler alert: Why would Alfred Molina's character NOT know the details of his co-op mortgage and why would his real estate agent allow him to make such miscalculations in the sale? Why don't these men have any friends of their own age? Why would two people who just got married, split up, albeit temporarily, for ANY reason. They could have become pet sitters for affluent out-of-town New Yorkers, for God's sake. Why does an only child with no friends sleep in a bunk bed? Why would two boys steal books in French when they could have taken them out of the Public Library? And, WHY OH WHY would someone, whose life-partner has a heart condition AND one arm in a sling, stand and watch their beloved walk down steep subway stairs and go, by himself, back home, after having a drink? Puhleeze. AND, any New Yorker knows that a rent-controlled apartment cannot be handed over to anyone new, unless they are a family member who has lived in the apartment for years and received mail there. Building management companies watch those rent-controlled apartments like hawks, waiting for the residents to die so they can bring the apartment up to current value. What the heck? Do none of those details matter when writing a script? And, as we sat there, my husband and I came up with a number of gay actors who could have played these parts. Are critics too scared to negatively review a film about such a "precious" topic? And, frankly, having known and loved many gay male friends, where were their outrageous senses of humor? It would have kept this slow-moving film from being, ultimately, a complete downer. Full Review »
  3. Sep 24, 2014
    6
    John Lithgow and Alfred Molina play a New York couple who've been together 39 years. When they finally get married, one of them loses his jobJohn Lithgow and Alfred Molina play a New York couple who've been together 39 years. When they finally get married, one of them loses his job at a Catholic school and they're forced to temporarily separate and live with friends or family. The movie sensitively explores the challenges that they and their hosts face. There is conflict and drama, but a surprising amount of objective, somewhat tedious observation. The unexpected breaks in the storyline undermine the narrative momentum. The actors all do a fine, understated job, but the emotional core is missing. Full Review »