A 24                         94 minutes                R

You need a lot of patience to be “faithful” to this film. It’s slow but sure without a lot of dialogue. Although the performances between Debra Winger and Tracey Letts are understated, and their interaction is fun to watch. Director Azazel Jacobs focuses on complicated relationships and shows that timing can be everything.

It’s good to see Debra Winger (Officer and A Gentleman, Terms of Endearment) back on the big screen, on her game with comedy. Winger says she held off doing the film for 5 years until the script was right. She and Letts (Tony and Pulitzer award winner) play a couple in a long-term marriage that fizzled out many moons ago.

When we meet them, they both have secret lovers who don’t want to be secret any more forcing Mary and Michael to promise setting a date to tell their spouses it’s time to divorce. Both seem comfortable with things just the way they are, except trying to fit in their time and trysts together is exhausting for both of them, especially with the demands of their lovers for a full time relationship.

The comedy comes from their game of cat and mouse as they steal whatever time they can, to be with their lovers without the spouse finding out. They rely on texting, afternoon delights, using the excuse they have to work late and more.

It becomes shocking and even more complicated when, still sleeping in the same bed, they suddenly turn over in bed, and face to face, kiss accidentally. It’s apparent this is something they haven’t done in forever. Desire takes over and then the cat and mouse game turns instead to the married couple stealing time away from their lovers using any excuse they can dream up. Who’s cheating on who! They are all trying to please each other which seems like an impossible task.  

Jacobs had to do some tricky editing to make this chess game work and he does. It’s more like a drawing room comedy on stage, but you get drawn in trying to follow and find out how it will end. Irish actor Aiden Gillen (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) is the passionate artist and Mary’s lover. Stage and TV actress, Melora Walters, is Lucy, the fiery dance teacher who is demanding Michael to make her come first.  The expressions on the faces of all of the principles run the gamut of emotions. You can almost see what they’re thinking. Should I tell her/him now? Do I want to? What do I really want?

These are not young kids running only on hormones, but Jacobs shows that those romantic and sexual desires are there no matter what your age!  The rekindled sex scenes between Michael and Mary are very physical, hot, and funny. They can’t get enough of each other. Then, enter Michael and Mary’s son with his girlfriend who are just as confused.

It’s worth seeing Winger and Letts perform in this well crafted script. The way they move around each other in a kind of dance is fun to watch. This film is a good modern and mature comedy about how fickle and fragile love and lovers can be.