“The Lovers” is a film that tries so hard to convince audiences that it’s a funny, honest and refreshing look at modern infidelity and a crumbling marriage, but it’s just another “been there, done that” exploration of a tiresome theme. This uncomfortable indie is tedious, boring, and feels as if it goes on for twelve hours.
The fantastic Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play Mary and Michael, a long-married couple who have all but completely fallen out of love. They both suffer through monotonous cubicle office jobs and come home to a lackluster marriage. Each is having an affair with a clingy, needy, eccentric artist; her a writer (Aidan Gillen), him a ballet dancer (Melora Walters). These two can’t stand to be married to each other but once they begin “cheating” on their unpleasant side partners with each other, it turns out they get along great as lovers.
The premise of the story is a good one, but the only interesting elements of the movie is its ending which, by the time it rolls around, is far too late. The trouble starts at the core with the main characters. These are incredibly unlikable, dull people that you won’t care about — which makes for a ridiculously dull movie.
The film has a sluggish mumblecore quality that makes it even more unappealing, with long stretches of awkward pauses, staredowns, scenes of text messages, and unexplained bouts of crying. It starts off okay, but hardly anything happens from scene to scene. And there it sits. And sits. Aaaaand sits.
At the midpoint, Mary and Michael’s son (Tyler Ross) comes home from college for the weekend with his new girlfriend (Jessica Sula) and thankfully breathes a little life into the story. There’s a lot of pain simmering beneath the surface during the visit, and it’s by far the best part of the movie. Unfortunately, it can’t save this tiring film.
I think this entire project would’ve worked much better as a short instead of a feature length movie. I guarantee a movie like this will be hailed as a masterpiece by critics, but they’re just taking the bait. I’ve seen (and loved) plenty of similar movies, but this one is a boring chore to sit through. This is the kind of indie movie that makes normal audiences think they hate indie movies.