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"Love Is Strange": To Be Gay and Couch-Surfing 

Tuesday, Aug 26 2014
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The title of Ira Sachs' Love Is Strange isn't necessarily inaccurate, but more descriptive titles might have been Family Is a Pain, Hell Is Other People, or Catholics Ruin Everything. When aging Catholic-school music teacher George (Alfred Molina) marries his lifelong boyfriend Ben (John Lithgow), the archdiocese promptly fires George for breach of their No-Homo contract, aka the "Christian Witness Statement." Now unable to afford their Manhattan apartment, Ben and George individually move in with friends and family, much to the chagrin of all involved — especially Ben's author niece Kate (Marisa Tomei) and her moody son Joey (Charlie Tahan, doing a lot of acting with his darting eyes), with whom Ben shares a bunk bed. Meanwhile, George encounters his own generation gap living with gay policeman and Dungeons & Dragons nerd Ted (Cheyenne Jackson). The elegiac, beautifully shot Love Is Strange has a peculiar relationship with the passage of time; a given scene will often linger on an image or piece of music, but then the next scene will jump weeks or months ahead, often breezing past significant events. By the same token, the 94-minute movie has one ending too many, as its final scenes change the focus of what came before in a way that's not entirely satisfying. Storytelling is strange.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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