The film begins with two men on the streets of Manhattan dressed to go to their wedding after 39 years of knowing each other. The happiness they cherish is short lived. Reality begins to follow them mercilessly. George played by the glorious Alfred Molina works as a school music teacher while Ben is retired and lives on a pension. George is fired from his job not so graciously. This leaves them with very little. They ask their friends for help. It is here the film begins to flourish. Ben and George move out of the house. George looks for an affordable house and a job. He stays separately with friends. Ben stays with his nephew’s family.
The separation breaks bits of them. It brings out small sorrows. Ben struggles during this time. He seems to be wearing out with each passing day. His niece played by Marisa Tomei tries to find distractions for Ben. Her son seems to be conflicted with the changed environment. Ben is mostly civil during this arrangement. He is also very gentle with the boy. John Lithgow plays Ben with a lot of sensitivity and grace. His generosity as an actor is seen in the more intimate moments.
The film pulls away from Ben and George and shifts to the boy. It is exceptionally restrained and beautiful. The film leaves us with a quiet sense of loss and hope for these characters. It shows us a time that will be cherished.