The Lovers

Starring: Tracy Letts, Debra Winger, Aidan Gillen, Melora Walters, Tyler Ross, Jessica Sula
Directed By: Azazel Jacobs

Plot: A married couple (Letts/Winger) find themselves both in extramarital affairs (Gillen/Walters), both with a plan to leave, yet also inexplicably drawn back to each other. Are they having an affair… on their affairs?

What Works: I liked the realism in the acting. Letts and Winger both do exceptional work, and the chemistry turns on when needed. During the first part of the film, they have no chemistry, which is fine, because they aren’t supposed to. But when they pick up, and chemistry is needed, they flip that switch. Both of them do great work, even in long scenes with very little dialogue. They seem like a real couple, and you’re watching a slice of their life. Overall, the film is paced well, and edited well. It has a strong script, with realistic dialogue that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to aim too high, or be smarter than it needs to be. It’s a pretty well done film.

What Doesn’t Work: However, this film has one of the most intrusive movie scores I think I’ve ever witnessed. It’s so fucking lout at times. Scores are supposed to compliment the film, but instead it almost feels like a music video, where the scenes were shot to compliment the music. I think the music, on its own, is very pretty, and I don’t mind listening to it. But it took me way out of the film at times, as it barrels through like a freight train. Sometimes, it was loud on top of dialogue, which I thought was rude. Also, I didn’t feel like Letts and Winger had any chemistry with their affair counterparts. I thought the film was easily setting us up so that they’d both quit their affairs, and that’s why they had no chemistry, but it’s just not that simple. So, in the end, it mattered that they didn’t have any chemistry with Gillen/Walters.

Final Word: It’s not a perfect film, but there’s enough here to like that I would still recommend a rental. It’s one of those films that flies completely under the radar, because it’s an indie drama, and features no A-list cast members. However, if you’re a fan of either Letts or Winger, you owe it to yourself to watch this, because they’re both delivering some really strong performances. They’re the best reason to watch this. In the end, I also give it points for taking a very interesting stance on cheating, and how that affects the marriage. In this instance, did cheating help, or hurt their relationship? You be the judge.

Final Grade: B

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