Marriage isn’t easy. Over time, people change, and what was once exciting and fresh can become predictable and even suffocating. That’s the place where Michael (Tracy Letts) and Mary (Debra Winger) find themselves after decades of marriage. Both of them are having affairs with other people, and after an upcoming visit from their son and his new girlfriend, they each plan on ending things. That is, until one morning when a spark suddenly reignites their relationship, and they find themselves cheating on their other partners…with each other.
The Lovers has an interesting premise, and it’s one that I found myself mostly intrigued by while watching the film. None of the characters here are what you would call likable, which makes it hard to root for any of them, if that’s something you find important. I don’t. Everyone involved here is at least a little bit selfish, and while it’s clear that Michael and Mary should in fact end their relationship, the people they’re leaving for are both horrible in their own ways. Ultimately, the story tries to discover if the relationship between Michael and Mary is rekindled, or if it’s the final gasps of life in an otherwise dying relationship. Again, if likability is something that you find essential, you may not care for this film (most of the critics I saw this film with seemed to loathe it in part because of this), but the premise is an intriguing one, and if it intrigues you, it’s worth watching.