The Elder Gays of Love Is Strange

September 17, 2014 10:07 PM

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On paper, it might suggest a bad sitcom: two notorious hams--John Lithgow and Alfred Molina--as longtime lovers confronting the innumerable challenges of aging. On the screen, under the direction of the exceptionally talented Ira Sachs, it is a subtle, searching exploration of the lives of elderly gay men--a film that ranks with some of the most moving representations of senescent queers, such as Bill Condon's great Gods and Monsters (1998) and the Vanessa Redgrave segment of HBO's If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000). It is also one of the smartest depictions of gay marriage as a consequential institution--not a counterfeit affair but a binding proceeding with the power to end a career.

That's what happens at the beginning of Love is Strange: George (Molina), having married Ben (Lithgow), his partner of nearly forty years, loses his job as a music instructor at a Catholic school in New York City. According to the archdiocese, gay marriage is anticlerical in a way that "lesser" gay ...

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