The Lovers (2017)

movie:
Azazel Jacobs

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On June 17, 2017
Last modified:June 17, 2017

Summary:

Rated R. Running time: 1 hour 37 min.

Our content ratings (1-10): Violence 0; Language 5; Sex/Nudity 8.

Our star ratings(1-5): 3.5

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them

will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Matthew 7:26

This bedroom shot is symbolic of the relationship between thelong-time married Mary & Michael. (c) A24

The title might mislead viewers into mistaking writer-director Azazel Jacobs’ film as a good candidate for a date movie. Nothing could be further from such light fare, the lovers of the title being a passionless married couple plus the younger man and the woman with whom they are committing adultery. In an odd twist half-way through, the title even refers to the married couple, who find their cheating on each other rekindles the long-extinguished flame that had once brought them together. What to do?

Debra Winger and Tracey Letts are the marrieds, Mary and Michael, and Melora Walters as the would-be ballerina Lucy, and Aidan Gillen as a struggling writer. Neither of the latter seem to be bothered by the cheating, and the marrieds, though they are aware of each other’s deceptions, continue to lie about being at work during their frequent absences. It seems to be inertia that keeps them together, certainly no religion-undergirded vows about “till death do us part.” Then comes the evening when they fall into bed, each facing away from each other. But morning finds them facing each other, their limbs embraced. They are startled to discover this upon awakening. Startled as they face each other, nose to nose, they are soon kissing, and…

Given this reawakening of passion, what to do? Especially in the light of ultimatums from Lucy and Robert that they break up after the couple’s grown son Joel (Tyler Ross) pays them a visit. The four major cast members are at the top of their form, but they are committed to a story that accepts our secularized culture’s acceptance of following the heart, morality be damned, if it gets in the way of one’s happiness. Vows sound nice when uttered, but should not fetter one’s freedom—or so goes the widely accepted opinion–marriage is not something that should require continual commitment and hard work to keep fresh, but, rather, is just one more means of finding happiness. If it doesn’t bring this, walk away and find someone else.

Hmm, am I getting too old for such films as this one? It brings out the preacher in me—sorry about that, but I can’t help but think that all four characters are like the foolish man described by Jesus in his parable, building their lives upon the sand. Anyway, if you are looking for a date film, meaning one of those romances that warm your heart, there are always the DVDs of Before Sunrise or Casablanca.

This review with a set of questions will be in the June 2017 issue of VP.

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