There's plenty enough going on of the delightful sort in The Lovers to let it stand on its own strong two feet - I don't want this to sound as if the movie's a desolate crater rescued by this one thing - but my goodness does the orchestral score to this movie buoy the whole thing along on a golden cloud of romance and magic. It comes in right at the start, a full sweep of beautiful sound, and it's fairly unrelenting - I could see in another situation finding the music to be too much. But here, set against the half-drab home furnishings by Pier 1 Imports and the generic suburban office settings, some spice of the aural sort is just what the doctor ordered. It turns doldrums into high drama, and sudden hal-smiles into works of art.
The Lovers is a work of art - a comically devastating small-scale tale of love lost and won and lost and won and lost. Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play Mary and Michael, a married couple who've been living in the same boring house and the same boring lives together for so long that they don't even remember the other exists. Whenever they take accidentally stumble into the other it's with a "Oh you're still here? What the hell for?" cock-eyed glare.
Mary has a boyfriend named Robert (Aiden Gillen) and Michael has a girlfriend named Lucy (Melora Walters), and they're both on the verge of making it official - breaking up the marriage and making full-time out of their respective side-piece part-time passions. And then, one day, a swirl of romantic music sweeps through, and all of a sudden...
Everybody's just grand in this movie. Winger and Letts make a comic feast of middle-aged sadness and confusion, and Gillen and Walters are fine exasperated foils. It's a romantic comedy of the most unexpected sort, dredged up from real seeming passions and life-questions - The Lovers is honest, and sexy, and goofy, and true, and it sounds like a million bucks making sweet sweet love.