About 22 years ago, Robin and I were fortunate enough to have lunch with Debra Winger and her husband, Arliss Howard (Actor – “Concussion” and numerous other films), at their suite at the Bel Aire Hotel. By the way, although outrageously expensive, it’s very romantic and a great place to spend an anniversary night! I was star-struck and could barely utter a coherent sentence, but, ever since then, I’ve been a huge Debra Winger fan. (I wish I could remember what I ate for lunch, but I’m having a senior moment!) Although she’s terrific in this film (as is Tracy Letts), the fine acting is the only reason to see this movie, and I don’t think it’s a good enough one to be tortured for two hours. I think Debra only took the part because – unless you’re Meryl Streep – there aren’t many leading roles for female actors in their 60’s. (FYI, I once wrote Meryl and suggested that she change her last name to “Street,” which to me sounds much better, but she didn’t even have the courtesy to send me a reply!)
Mary (Debra) and Michael (Tracy) have been unhappily married for years. To compensate for their loneliness, they each have lovers. Mary is having an affair with Robert (Aidan Gillen – “Game of Thrones”) and Michael is having one with Lucy (Melora Walters). Both lovers want their mates to leave their spouse. The plan that both secretly have is to tell their spouse that they want out, right after their son Josh (Eric Satterberg) and his girlfriend Erin (Jessica Sula) spend the up-coming weekend with them, since this will be the last time they are all together as a family.
Suddenly, after waking up one morning facing each other, a spark is lit and Mary and Michael make love. Amazingly, they now have an interest in each other. One problem with the film, however, is that we don’t know why they are estranged, or why they suddenly find each other interesting and attractive again. Lucy appears to be a classic borderline and why Michael has the remotest interest in her is anybody’s guess. Robert is a writer, but his novel is so boring that Mary falls asleep while he is reading it to her.
The Writer/Director (Azazel Jacobs) get nice performances from the ensemble cast, but the screenplay is superficial and the dialogue wooden. The movie also doesn’t make any sense on a psychodynamic basis. I wanted to love “The Lovers,” but it turned out only to be a one-night-stand!