In Love Is Strange, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as a gay couple who have been together for nearly 40 years when their relationship is thrown into chaos by an act of faith-based discrimination. But despite being devoid of any nudity, sex, drugs or violence, Love Is Strange has garnered an R-rating from the MPAA.
Molina plays George, a music teacher in a Catholic School in New York City and Lithgow is his lover, Ben, an artist. The two tie the knot when gay marriage comes to New York, and in an all-too familiar story, the school fires George as a result. George and Ben lose their apartment and are forced to separate as they move in with friends and relatives.
The film has garnered wide praise, with Lithgow calling the script the best he’s read since Terms of Endearment, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. There is some strong language, but compared to the R-rated Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — which features all of that previously-mentioned material and then some — Love Is Strange is a stroll in the park. And I’m sure there are some literal strolls in the park as well.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger critic Stephen Witty noted that ultraviolet films like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Expendables 3 only received PG-13 ratings from the MPAA. “It is very hard to imagine that,” Witty writes, “if [Love Is Strange] starred, say, Robert Duvall and Jane Fonda as a similar long-time couple suddenly facing homelessness — it would be lumped in with movies crammed full of queasily stylish sexism and sickening torture porn.”
Well, in the MPAA’s defense, marriage can be equally uncomfortable.
Love Is Strange hits theaters today, but make sure you’re mature enough to handle some first-class acting, writing and directing.