Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married, dispassionate couple who are both in the midst of serious affairs. But on the brink of calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.
A journey into the minds and hearts of a group of idealists and careerists as they take their separate paths in life. They believe they are the best of friends, yet they are alone and in a state of exile.
Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy Letts) are a married couple. They live together, but are estranged from one another. They are both having long-standing extramarital affairs-she with Robert (Aidan Gillen) and he with Lucy (Melora Walters). Their lovers have both emphatically demanded they break up the marriage and Mary and Michael have vowed that they will do so after a visit from their son, Joel (Tyler Ross), and his new girlfriend, Erin (Jessica Sula)..
"Writers are always writing about infidelity. It's so dramatic. The wickedness of it, the secrecy, the complications, the finding that you thought you were one person but you're also this other person." Alice Munro
Rare it is to see a romantic comedy about middle-aged couples whose marriage breakup is so realistically painful that I found myself fidgeting out of discomfort at the very-human acts. The Lovers, written and directed with a sure, quiet hand by Azazel Jacobs, is about those who love and those who discard love at the same time.
I hope I didn't mislead you into thinking this is a comedy in the laughs motif. Married Mary (Debra Winger) and husband Michael (Tracy Letts) shift between their lovers and their spouses like different courses at the same meal. The film is sometimes farcical, however, as when his emotionally-unstable lover, Lucy (Melora Walters), hisses like a witch at Mary but more tragic than comedic.
Unlike the traditional comedy, The Lovers is neither light nor humorous and has neither a cheery nor happy ending. That ending is perhaps too ambiguous for its own good but nonetheless true to the uncertainty of love. It does have a jaundiced eye about the sincerity of humans in their attempt to be faithful and caring.
What The Lovers has is a wickedly critical take on the state of true love, or on the ability of lovers to remain faithful. Although it took me a while to adjust to the realism cum farce, after a bit I saw that Jacobs had caught the restless heart of humanity, its ever-searching for love.
Jacobs leads us to a surprising ending in which the restless heart is not down for the count. Regardless of how you like the ending, it is sure to spark conversation; a line from The Crying Game and other places is in order: "Who knows the secrets of the human heart?"
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