The Lovers

Filed in Film by on May 15, 2017 0 Comments

In the very first scene of Azazel Jacobs’ quiet and quirky movie, The Lovers, which opens in Canada on May 19, an unmarried middle-aged woman, Lucy (Melora Walters), cries as her married lover, Michael (Tracy Letts), tries to console her.

Michael’s wife, Mary (Debra Winger), is having an affair, too. Her paramour, Robert (Aidan Gillen), is a younger man, as seems to be the style these days.

It soon becomes clear why Michael and Mary are both cheating. Although they’ve been married for ages, they’ve drifted apart, have stopped communicating in a meaningful manner and, for all practical purposes, inhabit solitary realms. In a word, they’re miserable. But hope springs eternal: Michael and Mary believe that a better, more fulfilling life awaits each of them if they exercise a modicum of patience and prudence.

They’re both biding their time, waiting for exactly the right moment to announce their separation. In the meantime, Michael and Mary, who live in an attractive home in an upscale neighbourhood somewhere in California, carry on with their lives as if nothing is amiss.

Just when you think they’re finished as a couple, sparks fly, but this abrupt shift remains unexamined and unexplored. Nonetheless, the scene during which this apparent transformation unfolds is quite amusing. As they awake in bed one morning, they recoil in horror. Glancing into each other’s eyes, they realize they’re still together despite everything. But as soon as Michael returns from the shower, he looks longingly at Mary, who seems smitten by the man she’s planning to leave. Before you can count to ten, their bodies are interlocked in sexual bliss.

What is the meaning of this sudden burst of passion? Why are they trying to rebuild what seems like a shattered relationship? Your guess is as good as mine. Certainly, Jacobs doesn’t even try to answer this pertinent question.

Debra Winger and Tracy Letts

Behaving as if nothing untoward has happened, Michael and Mary continue to see their respective lovers, skimming over the fact that they’re cheating on them.

Are they reconciling due to a looming family reunion? Their college-age son, Joel (Tyler Ross), is returning for a visit, his girlfriend in tow, and Michael and Mary want it to go as smoothly as possible. At first, everyone is on their best behavior. But when Lucy and Robert conclude that Michael and Mary are backing out of their respective commitments, tensions erupt. The idyllic facade that Michael and Mary fabricated for the benefit of their son crumbles in a heap of broken dreams.

Winger and Letts are the mainstays in this film. Winger, at 61, is past her prime, but she shines as an actress portraying disillusionment. Letts exudes the world-weary persona of a person who’s been disappointed once too often.

The Lovers brings these raw emotions to the screen effectively.

 

 

 

 

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