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Two Lovers [Blu-ray]
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Commentary with director, James Gray
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Top Customer Reviews
In his relationship with Michelle, Leonard is the strong one, the good one. In his relationship with Sandra, he continues to be the weak man from his past-the guy that needs gentle understanding. It's no wonder he pines for Michelle even though she's going to lead him down the path of self destruction. But every lover wants the chase.
I loved this movie and am frankly surprised by the bad reviews. Two Lovers may be subtle and a bit slow for some, but I found it nuanced and charming. At times in my life I've been the sunny party girl in love with the wrong man, the depressed lover pining for a an ex, and the sweet affable girl who could utter such lines as "if you don't want me, it's ok. I mean a lot of guys don't want me." Everyone should find at least one character in this film they can relate to. Highly recommended.
(Magnolia Films, 2009)
Joaquin Phoenix turns in a stunning, multi-layered performance as Leonard, a faltering, shaken young man whose life has been upended by a jilted marriage engagement and a psychiatric diagnosis (that remains fuzzily-defined for the film's viewers...) Leonard has come back home to live with his benign, elderly parents in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Brighton Beach, and from this position of infantilization and defeat, he starts to mend his life.
When romance comes into his life, through two women -- one wild and forbidden, the other nurturing and safe -- the complexity of Leonard's character comes into view. One might expect such a damaged man to seek the comfort of the safe lover, the future wife who will replace the fiance who deserted him, but instead he is drawn to the mystery of his wild new neighbor, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. (One remarkable twist in this film is how we as viewers find ourselves pushed away from the ever-attractive Ms. Paltrow: her character exudes danger and chaos: run away! we want to yell as Leonard becomes more and more infatuated with her...)
Phoenix's performance continually defies our expectations. His Leonard doesn't reveal itself in the simplistic, cookie-cutter vocabulary of most modern filmmaking, be it mainstream or indie; there are parts of his personality that remain elusive and that don't make sense, and even his ultimate decision about what to do with his life is difficult to gauge. Did he make a "good" decision? Will it last? Does he heal? We simply do not know. All we know is what we can see, and in this case, what we see is a fine film with an unusually rich, mature psychological complexity. Definitely worth checking out. (Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film review blog)
In "Two Lovers," Joaquin Phoenix plays a young man who suffers from suicidal depression. His condition has made it imperative that he move back in with his parents, an old world couple who live in a spacious apartment in Brighton Beach. Leonard's life turns even more complicated and stressful when he becomes involved with both an attractive friend of the family (whom the parents want him to hook up with) and a beautiful but seriously troubled neighbor he meets one day in the hall. The problem is that Leonard is really head-over-heels in love with the needy, self-absorbed and high maintenance Michelle (who is herself involved with a married man), and is really only using Sandra as a means of getting back at Michelle for not reciprocating his love.
Based on the Dostoevsky short story "White Nights" and the 1957 Visconti movie of the same name, the inexorably sad and moving "Two Lovers" takes place in a world in which the characters rarely talk above a whisper and from which all possibility of joy seems to have been drained away. The movie is almost achingly perceptive about how the human psyche actually works when it comes to affairs of the heart, acknowledging that we can control neither how we feel about others nor how others feel about us - though we certainly do expend a great deal of our energy and time trying! Leonard is not a "bad" guy at heart; he doesn't go out of his way to intentionally hurt others, but he's also not above deceiving himself into believing he's doing nothing wrong when he clearly is.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting and watchable little drama and ambivalent romance. Joaquin Phoenix does some very fine work as a troubled, depressed, suicidal young man, living with his loving and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Anton Reiner
Good frame on the film Gwen Paltro 👎🏻 not he best choice for her roll. The story was well, very bland. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Patty Quinones
A truly unusual story, with fine performances by Joaquim and Paltrow.Published 5 months ago by wanderingwordeye