Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) take advantage of New York's new marriage laws and tie the knot after being together for 39 years. Unfortunately, the Catholic school where George teaches does not approve, and they reluctantly fire him, forcing the couple to split up and stay with friends while they sell their apartment and look for cheaper housing. George crashes with two gay police officers, while Ben, who's a painter, bunks with his nephew's family in Brooklyn—a temporary situation that weighs heavily on all involved. [Sony Pictures Classics] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Aug 19, 2014
    50
    Love is Strange boasts an abundance of patience and kindness — but not much of a pulse.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Aug 31, 2014
    10
    Mike and I saw "Love is Strange" today at an early show in Evanston, and we think it's a great film that deserves all the great reviews it's been getting. It's a touching story of an aging gay couple who find themselves having to live with relatives and friends after the breadwinner loses his job as a music teacher at a Catholic school, because he made it public that he married his partner of forty years. Marisa Tomei's performance as the neice in law is a great performance. Alfred Molina and John Lithgow actually have screen chemistry because they are good friends in real life. The tenderness portrayed in this film is accented by the classical piano soundtrack. It's scares me that many people in the real world become desperate after losing their jobs, that this story comes off as almost true to life. Mike and I were touched by how gentle this couple is to each other. It's certainly a film about gay marriage that the American public should watch, if they only stop being so discriminatory to be more open minded. This is a great film, and I loved it like a great realistic novel where you get to know the characters, and care for them deeply. This is one great film!

    I just spent the last hour on www.metacritic.com/movie/love-is-strange reading raving reviews from all over the country about this movie. They all love the simple details of this romantic realist story about a couple going through difficult times, that many critics say this story is deeply human and universal, and shouldn't be seen as just a "gay marriage" movie. It's more than that. It's a deeply human story! It's soundtrack of classical piano make the simplest gestures of these characters heartwarming and heartbreaking, as when John Lithgow's character reaches out an grabs Alfred Molina's character(George) in a public place at a music concert. The music is so romantic, but the story is so real, and when these characters sweeten up to each other, we wish the best for them, and it breaks our hearts. Critics love this movie, and for a good cause. This is one expertly described film. The performance by the nephew becomes more and more moving as the film goes on. The path of love never did run smooth, as Shakespeare wrote in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and that's so true for this movie. Go see it if you can.

    Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.
    Expand
  2. Aug 22, 2014
    9
    Likely the first must-see film of the year. Molina and Lithgow are simply outstanding in this love story that doesn't quite go the way you'd expect it to. I'm definitely interested to see where this director's career will go. Expand
  3. Sep 4, 2014
    9
    Perhaps one of the most honest and true love stories ever brought to the screen. With Ira Sachs' direction, this film soars through life's challenges and are upheld with truly wonderful performances from its cast. Expand
  4. Sep 2, 2014
    8
    Love is Strange is made in the style of a Woody Allen drama, but not as strong as Woody's best work. Lithgow and Molina are wonderful as the two geriatric gay men who have lived together nearly 40 years, only to have to separate temporarily when one of them loses their job. They each move in with a different family member, and each one has different problems with their new living arrangements. Some of the camera shots seemed exceedingly long to me, and some of the characters and storyline felt underdeveloped, but I still enjoyed the film overall. Not a film I would want to see again, as the various family members were very annoying. Expand
  5. Aug 23, 2014
    7
    "Love is Strange" stars John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei in this story of a marriage of two men who have lived together for 39 years and, under the newly enacted New York law, are able to formally solidify their relationship in a more traditional manner. The problems the two encounter could befall any married couple so this is really not a gay movie but the story of a married couple who happen by chance to be gay. It is also the story of true love and the caring and affection that only beautful relationships can bring about. Unfortunately, this lovely and sensitive story, told in a better way, would have made a better film. One can only blame the writers, Ira Sachs (who is also the director) and Mauricio Zacharias and/or the editor for preventing this movie from realizing its potential. The continuity and ease of understanding are significantly absent from the film so that the viewer must assume and imagine that which could easily have been shown in an added scene or two. This is even more disturbing when you have such fine performances given by Messrs. Molina and Lithgow and Ms. Tomei all of whom are exemplary in the roles they play. I give the film a 7 simply because too many questions are posed for the viewer to try to answer and too many inconsistencies exist for the viewer to follow. Had these writing/editing problems been solved, the film would indeed be worthy of a much higher rating. Expand
  6. Sep 3, 2014
    6
    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. Expand
  7. Sep 5, 2014
    5
    “Love Is strange” could have, and would have, been an excellent movie. By no means is the movie a long one, running one hour and forty minutes, but seems much longer. Director Ira Sachs, who isn’t an amateur by any means, includes ’artistic’ scenes that aren’t necessary, which slows the movie down , instead of concentrating and telling a bit more of the two main characters stories.

    Ben, (John Lithgow), and George, (Alfred Molina), could be any couple who have been together for 39 years. The film opens on the day of their marriage, which has separated them from being ‘any couple’, celebrated with family and friends. The two actors are completely believable in their roles from how they interact with and towards each other, warts and all. Unfortunately George teaches music at a Catholic school where they know about the couple but with the marriage George has made a public ‘statement’ and he is fired. Ben is retired and to get the movie going they are forced to separate, temporarily, after they have to sell their condo.

    George goes to live with the two gay policemen, Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez, living on the floor below them who party, always have the TV going and play loud music while George likes peace and quiet. Ben moves in with his nephew, Elliot, (Darren Burrows), his wife, Kate ((Marisa Tomei) and their teenage son Joey (Charlie Tahan), the latter given a ‘red herring’ storyline. Elliot is very seldom home, Kate works from home and being a teenage Joey and his friend Vlad, Eric Tabach, want to be alone in the former’s room, where Ben sleeps in the lower bed of a bunk bed, though why, being an only child, there is a bunk bed is never explained. Ben is use to George always being there for him, to listen to him and fill the many needs he has.

    As we get to feel the loneliness, the strain of living apart between George and Ben, we understand Ben’s saying, “Sometimes when you live with people, you get to know them better than you want/care to.” Through many small moments we get to know the deepness of the men’s relationships and, though on a smaller scale, the relationships of others.

    There are no big dramatic moments in “Love Is Strange” on screen but two major developments take place off screen robbing the audience which would have added much more to the film than the 3 not needed artistic scenes.

    The actors are all first rate but it is the natural performances of Lithgow and Molina that make this a film worth seeing. I am sure they will be remembered come award time. They make their small moments all seem meaningful, allowing us to get to know them as individuals and as a couple.

    “Love Is Strange” is one of the better gay themed films but more than being a ’gay’ film it is a film about love between two people and is for all old married couples, young couples or singles who want to be just that.
    Expand

See all 9 User Reviews

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