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review

Debra Winger and Tracy Letts in The Lovers.Robb Rosenfeld

Mary and Michael (Debra Winger and Tracy Letts) are tired of being married to each other. Each has a lover. Each is plotting divorce, although neither can quite pull the trigger. But one morning, they wake nose to nose and the weirdest thing happens: Their sexual urgency reignites. Soon they're rushing home from their dead-end jobs and find themselves in the twisty position of cheating on their lovers … with their spouses. Director Azazel Jacobs has written (with Winger in mind) an unapologetically adult movie, in which it's assumed that people in their 50s are as sexual and screwed up as people in their 20s and it's a given that yearning never ends. He asks the big question: How do you make love stay? But he's chosen a tricky tone from which to address that – a delicate, deadpan comic fable, as if someone gave Boccaccio a camera and an indie film budget. The movie is strongest when it sticks to small, telling details – the way Mary, for example, can tell that Michael has changed, simply by the slump of his shoulder in silhouette.