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The Lovers - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The Lovers
Directing: C+
Acting: B
Writing: C
Cinematography: B
Editing: C+

Oh look, a movie that wants to convince you shitty people are sympathetic characters!

The Lovers is a bit sneaky about it, too. The marketing would have you believe this story is a bit more lighthearted than it really is. Instead, the first half is equal parts dull and kind of a downer. At first I was going to say it's pleasant enough -- but, not really. In the beginning, it's slightly more tedious than pleasant. I have a higher tolerance for these things than perhaps your average movie-goer, so for someone like me, it was fine to bide my time waiting for redeeming qualities. And this movie does have them. But it would also test the patience of many.

The premise seems amusing on the surface: Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy letts) are in a passionless marriage, and both engaged in affairs -- with Robert (Aidan Gillen) and Lucy (a gratingly high strung Melora Walters), respectively. Both the "other woman" and the "other man" have reached high levels of exasperation with being told they will finally be chosen over the marriage that everyone seems to agree needs to be dissolved. Except for the part where Mary and Michael experience a sudden and surprising, renewed attraction to each other -- and begin cheating, with each other.

Complicating matters is their son, Joel (Tyler Ross), visiting home with his new girlfriend (Jessica Sula). Once the kids come home, the family dynamics at play make for far more compelling storytelling than the contrivance of the parents having a secret love affair with each other. Sometimes this is where the fitting together of plot pieces is worth the wait, but in this case, it takes a bit too long to get there.

We're meant to see The Lovers as a comedy, but at best it's a comedy drama, and the implications of everything going on weighs heavy on these characters. The actors, for the most part, convey it well. Debra Winger is not seen onscreen often, and it's nice to see her again, and in a movie practically tailor made for her. To say this is for older audiences would be a slight understatement -- this is basically an inoffensive diversion for those barely too mellow to bother with a midlife crisis.

Or so it would seem, anyway. The second half of The Lovers picks up the pace and improves its plot intrigue considerably. But I surprised to find myself feeling a moral objection to the way the story wraps up in the end. It seems moderately clever, until you think about it critically. I won't spoil the semi-twist, but I will say that upon further reflection, where they all end up is really not good for anyone involved. Writer-director Azazel Jacobs seems intent on making us think it's cute. In reality, these characters have no moral compass and are kind of shit bags.

Some might think I'm just taking it too seriously, but whatever. There should be some level of plausibility, or at least the sense that you might actually like any of these main characters if they were real people. I would not want to hang out with any of them, except perhaps for Joel and his girlfriend. And however the hell he turned out to be okay is perhaps the greatest mystery, except to be a catalyzing plot point. In any event, The Lovers wavers from dull to fizzling potential to sneaky disappointment.

Debra Winger and Tracy Letts make the best of THE LOVERS.

Overall: C+
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