The air that encircles Azazel Jacobs’ The Lovers is suffused with an extraordinary, almost overwhelming, sense of longing. It’s a longing spurred by loneliness and exacerbated by professional and personal disappointment. This is a film that is unmistakably aware of the cumulative regret that comes with fantasizing about correcting past mistakes, and about the measures we take to complicate and distract ourselves from certain, oft-unbearable clinical truth. Jacobs captures the tiny anxieties that ornate our days-in-days-out: strained conversations with coworkers, the painful, skull-clutching feeling of entering your office cubicle to turn on your workstation, and staring at the black void of a monitor as you wait for its screen to illuminate. And yet The Lovers never despairs. It never succumbs to hopelessness or vapid nihilism. It’s a film charged with a baffling energy that recalls the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love and Sarah Polley’s Take this Waltz. The Lovers is a worthy companion piece to those two (personal) tomes, nurturing those films’ disquiet romanticism into one of the most delightful experiences at the theater this year.