ShareThis Page

Movie review: Winger delights in 'The Lovers'

| Friday, May 19, 2017, 9:54 a.m.

There's a teeny-tiny movie, complete and perfect, deep inside “The Lovers”; it's about five seconds long and it stars Debra Winger's eyes. She's Mary, a long-married woman juggling a husband (Tracy Letts) and a lover (Aidan Gillen) and wondering how to tell her son (Tyler Ross) that his parents are splitting up. In a brief moment in a car where she gazes into the rearview mirror, there it is: anger, puzzlement, soulfulness, resignation — all in one silent, devastating moment.

Winger doesn't make movies very often these days; her last significant role, in “Rachel Getting Married,” was nine years ago. So I'm not particularly inclined to lean on “The Lovers” too much for being a little stagy (though it is); it's such a pleasure to see her again.

The idea here is that both spouses are cheating on the other — Mary's lover is a tedious writer, husband Michael's paramour (Melora Walters) is a needy ballet teacher — and that each thinks the other doesn't know. And, though their marriage is at its end, there's still a spark between them; something faintly electric that refuses to die.

Written and directed by Azazel Jacobs (“Terri”), “The Lovers” is unmistakably a comedy; playful music and cute double-takes abound. Mary and Michael are deliberately crafted as bland, with regular-person unglamorous jobs involving cubicles and a lot of beige, and we don't see what led them to stray from their marriage.

But you wonder, throughout, how Michael could be letting Mary slip away. Letts has some fine moments, but it's Winger who really brings the color to this movie, creating a woman filled with disappointment and passion and wit, taking a small-scale comedy of manners to a darker, richer place. Feast your eyes on her; it might be a while before you get a chance again.

Moira Macdonald is a Seattle Times staff writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.