THE LOVERS review

Not much to say about this one. It looks like it’s about this older couple that have been married for many years, but it’s an unhappy marriage and they both find romance in younger partners. They think they’re going to leave their spouse when a random night makes them realize that there may still be romance between them. It looks like it could be a decent flick, but I’m curious if both the man and woman will just have the same reasons why they do and don’t want to leave the other.

Here’s the cast. We have Debra Winger (RACHEL GETTING MARRIED [2008], RADIO [2003], and TV show THE RANCH), Tracy Letts (ELVIS & NIXON [2016], INDIGNATION [2016], and TV show DIVORCE), Melora Walters (SACRIFICE [2015], THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT [2004], and TV show BIG LOVE), and Aidan Gillen (SING STREET [2016], MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS [2015], 12 ROUNDS [2009], and the upcoming KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD [2017]).

And the crew. Writing and directing is Azazel Jacobs, known for projects I’ve never heard of. Composing the score is Mandy Hoffman, also known for projects I’ve never heard of, but has worked with Jacobs in most of his projects. Finally, the cinematographer is Tobias Datum, known for GRANDMA [2015] and TV show MOZART IN THE JUNGLE, as well as a few of Jacobs other projects.

Overall, I’m not super excited or anything, but I’m interested to see if it has enough to hold my interest.

This is my honest opinion of: THE LOVERS

(SUMMARY)

Michael (Tracy Letts) and Mary (Debra Winger) have been married for years. But as of late, they’ve transitioned into a loveless marriage that’s had both of them seeing other romantic interests on the side that neither know about. However, the sneaking around has become unbearable for both other lovers, and want Michael and Mary to officially break it off. However, after a night of drinking, they wake up in bed and start questioning if maybe the marriage is truly worth ending yet.

(REVIEW)

I think I got more out of it than the average person did, so I say it’s good. That doesn’t sound very convincing, does it? Well, that’s because it takes some rewiring and looking at this movie in a different light than what’s on the surface.

I have to admit that I didn’t quite like the movie upon arrival. It opens on Mary and Robert (Aiden Gillen) exchanging kisses and a couple of “I love yous.” They shared little to no chemistry and barely exchanged any dialog. So far, boring. Michael and Lucy (Melora Walters) make zero sense because she’s insane, so there’s no reason as to why Michael wants to be with her. Lucy will freak out at the slightest silly word that Michael will use that offends her and even attacks him for his phone by biting him in the arm. They’re the ones that stand out the most, but not in a good way.

You wanna know the bizarre thing, though? When Mary and Michael are together, their lack of chemistry is oddly enough really engaging. You really see the effort in their body language and lack of eye contact, short sentences with each other, it’s really amusing and ironically more engaging to watch than when they’re with their partners.

You see the initial problems that I had with this movie? The crux of the story is that Mary and Michael are in a loveless marriage and are cheating on each other for the love that their partners give them. However, Mary and Robert are boring, and Lucy’s too crazy for anyone to understand what makes her appealing. So with that in mind, how are we supposed to care about anyone ending up with each other. If I wasn’t so bored with what was being presented on screen, I might have been more frustrated. Couple that with some bafflingly bad writing that was littered throughout the first act, it wasn’t boding well for the movie and my enjoyment of it.

Maybe a couple laughs here and there, like this one visual moment with Michael visiting Lucy at her home. They have a talk that barely ends well, but then the gag comes in. He’s standing at the doorway to her office room and is leaning against it with clasped hands. Then in the background, you see a sketch of him in the same exact position. That was admittedly hilarious. It was random and it isn’t really explained if the person in said drawing was actually him or not, but in the bland sea that was this movie, I accepted the joke. And maybe Gillen was about the closest thing to the best actor in the film because there was a likable charm to him as he tries desperately to woo Mary and charm her. Ha, I found myself being charmed by the man, he was that good. But these moments were unique to the film and didn’t really happen again and I was ready to chock this up as a bad movie.

But then the real conflict of the movie happened. When Michael and Mary wake up in bed together and kiss, it causes some seriously awkward and hilarious reactions. The two of them trying to play it candid, but clearly losing their shit, it was brilliantly funny. And I will never forget Michael’s line, “What the fuck?”

And as the second half of the story progresses, it started to hit me. Was the boring first half intentional? Was that a calculated risk that writer-director Jacobs purposefully inserted in the story? The focus then shifts to Michael and Mary having affairs on their affairs. In these moments, Mary and Michael start to rekindle their relationship and the movie really picks up. The comedy is more prominent, the drama escalates, the stakes are risen, even the romance and dialog pick up a little. The story finally holds your interest all the way until the very end. It’s crazy. I wish I could quote something or give an example, but they execute the story’s ideas pretty well.

***SPOILERS***

***

***

Now let’s talk about that ending. It’s sort of left ambiguous as far as whether or not Mary and Mike reconcile with Joel, but it’s revealed that both couples end up with their lovers; Mary with Robert and Michael with Lucy. I’m not entirely sure if I agree with the two of them splitting up, since it looked like they were getting along so well toward the end, but at the same time, I do find it amusing that they still keep seeing each other and cheat on their respective partners anyway.

***

***

***END SPOILERS***

So, what? Does that mean I think the movie is suddenly amazing? Well, not exactly. As much as I can now forgive the film’s boring first half and see it as intentional for dramatic effect, that still doesn’t take away from the problems that are still present. When characters lie to each other, they’ll literally forget about the lie a few seconds later. No one’s that forgetful. General character inconsistencies, like the first couple scenes with Lucy are depicting her as a bitter and insane bitch, but then another scene will show her randomly excited to see Michael, which we never really get is a thing with her. There’s still really bad direction and writing, scenes that almost make no sense despite spending a few minutes on them, and Joel (Tyler Ross) the son is a total douche bag.

Overall, I think the movie is surprisingly better than most will believe. But despite its subtle brilliance, there’s still quite a few painfully obvious flaws that anchor the film down from being legitimately good. But I’m a forgiving guy, especially since it is a romantic comedy and I’m usually a sucker for those. However, my liking the movie may be part of a minority. I would say if you’re interested in seeing this, watch the trailer and see if it’s really something you want to see. See it in a matinee showing. That would be the best recommendation. I’m sure happy that I saw it, but I can’t say the same for everyone else. I saw it once, but I’d probably only see it again if I was channel surfing on TV.

My honest rating for THE LOVERS: a strong 3/5

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