So intertwined are Ben (John Lithgow) and George’s (Alfred Molina) lives in Ira Sachs’ new movie Love Is Strange that everything is completely changed by the absence of one another. Uncannily reminiscent of Leo McCarey’s depression era film Make Way for Tomorrow about an elderly couple forced to live apart by bankruptcy, Love Is Strange echoes that story in many ways but adds modern relevance by making the couple gay and the cause of their separation rooted in homophobic discrimination. At the cost of plausibility it lamentably shoots itself in the foot so that it can stay located in Manhattan but through virtue of the talent on hand it is still able to create piteous moments of longing for a hard won happily ever after that’s been unceremoniously cut short.
In the television world there is a very important concept that every show must consider if it wants to be taken seriously: verisimilitude. Simply put, verisimilitude is the appearance of being real. The audience very well knows that the characters that appear on the screen night after night are make believe and the stories are made up, but it’s essential that the creators of that television show make the audience believe.