The Lovers Review - A Dramatic Comedy with Perfect Character Driven Performances

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The Lovers, from A24, brings to the screen a tale of two lovers and others, of life disconnected, of lost love and rekindled passion, of complications, of endings and beginnings, of the expected and the unimaginable.

Written and directed by Azazel Jacobs, The Lovers star Debra Winger, Tracey Letts, Aidan Gillen, Melora Walters, Jessica Sula and Tyler Ross.

The Lovers begins as we meet Mary, played by Debra Winger and Michael, played by Tracy Letts, stealing a few minutes with their lovers each passionately explaining why now is not the right time, soon, they both say to sooth the frustration, soon.

Each day our couple, Michael and Mary, wake, walk through the shattered remains of their life together and steal a few minutes with their lovers for Mary, Robert, played Aidan Gillen, shows up on her lunch and the two works out the plan or excuse for that evenings tryst. And for Michael, he spontaneously shows up at the Dance Studio where Lucy, played by Melora Walters, teaches.

With the playbook of excuses in full use the two, who don’t really care and only out of courtesy offer the other the occasional inventive and elaborate explanation. The relationship is obviously strained for Michael and Mary.

After an unexpected evening when both Michael and Mary’s respective lovers were exasperated as the neither could just walk away, the continued commitment to leave the spouse, they both ended home together, at the same time, early enough to have some wine and silently wonder.  

Maybe too much wine, maybe subliminal longing, maybe habit for whatever reason the two end up waking up too close and as if they were in bed with a sibling snap back from the light kissing. Suddenly a flame ignited and the two who only days ago considered the other a pariah are now reliving the early days of marriage when life was good, sex was great and the future seemed endless.

The rekindling of this sexual appetite for each other creates a mini-earthquake in the lives of the Mary’s lover Robert and Michael’s lover Lucy. The lovers have each come to the point of no return and issue the ultimatum.

And to complicate what has become a complicated situation Michael and Mary’s son, Joel, played by Tyler Ross and his girlfriend, Erin, played by Jessica Sula, are visiting for the weekend.

The Lover’s could essentially be a play in three acts, and it plays perfectly in each act.

The first act we see the painful existence and the acting, as one would expect, is really good as it was uncomfortable to watch the initial scenes between Ms. Winger and Mr. Letts. These two genuinely played out this struggling, troubled, painful, marriage. 

I believe the most important element in this film is the fact the these actors translate their emotions so well that one can "feel" them. When Mr. Letts and Ms. Winger are in the midst of their painful interactions; it is painful and painful to watch not because it is poorly acted but quite the opposite the feelings are because it is done so well. And when they are happy it translates also and the film becomes enjoyable. 

I enjoyed watching the range of four the main actors. With the home front in shambles, the relationship with the lovers are filled with all the good times and when the inevitable occurs in our story the interactions between the couples is such a polar contrast to the painful beginning.

The Lover’s is more a dramatic comedy than a straight comedy and provides the vehicles for the ensemble to deliver exceptional character driven performances.  

With almost a bare bones production, mirroring a raw existence, with no extraneous or inessential material, no external cinematography, almost an analogy for their own life; the two have no unexpected moments, they have become dulled, numbed to reality it’s too painful and are only alive when they are with their lover.

The Lover’s recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and is in theaters everywhere. Look for The Lover's  on streaming platforms soon. See it for the strong character driven performances.