Two Lovers

2008

Action / Drama / Romance

24
IMDb Rating 7 10 33946

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Joaquin Phoenix as Leonard Kraditor
Gwyneth Paltrow as Michelle Rausch
Vinessa Shaw as Sandra Cohen
Isabella Rossellini as Ruth Kraditor
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
930.01 MB
1280*534
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 50 min
P/S 3 / 19
1.75 GB
1920*800
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 50 min
P/S 5 / 12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tccandler 9 / 10

Why can't I have them both? It's just not fair!

Gwyneth Paltrow is like Italian ice cream on a summer day. Vinessa Shaw is like hot chocolate on a winter morning. Why can't I have them both? It's just not fair!

Here's an intensely absorbing indie-film, being released simultaneously in a few select cities and on digital pay-per-view. That seems to be a popular new way for smaller films to reach larger audiences. And believe me, "Two Lovers" deserves as large an audience as it can get. This will definitely end up being one of the best films of 2009.

The title and the trailer make it evident that this is a romantic drama in which one man is torn between two very different women. That man is Leonard Kraditor (Phoenix), a generally introverted man who has moved back in with his parents after a failed relationship. He is interested in black and white photography, but works in his father's dry-cleaning business. He is governed by depression, fending off thoughts of suicide with prescription medicine.

His parent's friends are also in the cleaning industry and they are considering a possible merge, which Leonard could one day take over. Their beautiful daughter is Sandra (Shaw), who is soon "fixed up" with Leonard. They nervously take the first steps into a new relationship, soon developing a comfortable rhythm that feels cathartic and safe for both.

Soon thereafter, Leonard stumbles into Michelle (Paltrow), an energetic blonde who moves into an apartment on the floor above. She is hyperactive and fun, representing a slightly more dangerous undertaking for Leonard. She becomes an even more enticing challenge when he finds out that she is kept by a wealthy married lawyer who repeatedly promises that he will leave his family for her.

One girl is safe and comfortable. The other is unattainable and risky. The film follows the labyrinthine emotional maze that Leonard has to navigate in order to find out what will make him the happiest. It is a fascinating journey that pulls the viewer back and forth as we try to make his decision for him.

Phoenix is naturally one of the most emotionally weighty performers in recent memory. He almost always carries around an anvil of angst in his roles -- and it is on full display here. Leonard balances on the edge of torment and ecstasy, never managing to fully commit to either. It is a marvelous effort -- I only hope it is not his last film, as he has recently hinted in interviews.

Paltrow is this critic's idea of silver-screen heaven. She lights up the screen in ways that render the film projector completely unnecessary. This is one of her most emotionally charged roles since "Hard Eight". Her character is scarred and needy, hidden beneath a veneer of nonchalant smiles. The part was written with Paltrow in mind - she absolutely does it justice.

I have been crazy about Vinessa Shaw since I first saw her as Domino in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, "Eyes Wide Shut". She has a serene quality that fits this role perfectly. I am not sure there is an actress who can emote as subtly as Shaw can. As Sandra, she represents the hope for a peaceful, kind and safe existence with Leonard. It is just a matter of convincing him that those things are what he wants. Shaw is remarkable in every scene and deserves award consideration.

Heck, all three of them should be considered when Oscar rolls around in 2010. This is an ensemble, which includes a superb turn by Isabella Rossellini as Leonard's mother, that ranks as one of the best of the decade. "Two Lovers" is an actor's film -- allowing them to live and breathe on screen. The characters are fully realized, three-dimensional people who we can care about long after the fade-to-black.

James Gray is a patient director. His work includes "The Yards" and "We Own the Night". He is unafraid to let the characters develop without feeling the urge to stamp his name all over the production with needless flare. He is confident enough to let his writing do the work. Gray is fast becoming one of the more intriguing talents in the business.

"Two Lovers" is an honest and authentic film that requires a thoughtful, attentive and mature audience. The emotions are complex. The consequences are tangible. I really cared about what happened to these characters. How often can you say that about a movie? Absolutely do whatever you can to find this independent gem.

TC Candler's Movie Reviews

Reviewed by agmancuso 8 / 10

The Flight Of Joaquin Phoenix

Perhaps, the most startling aspect of "Two Lovers" is Joaquin Phoenix's performance. Superb. I haven't really liked any of the James Gray's films, until now that is. There is something profoundly moving and profoundly truthful here and I'm sure it has to do with Phoenix's portrayal. Gwynneth Paltrow is wonderful as the girl walking an emotional tightrope. And Vinessa Shaw is a real find. I was also moved by Isabella Rossellini as Joaquin's mother! Beautiful and intense but unlike many of her contemporaries not "cosmetic" A real extraordinary face. In fact she looks more like her mother Ingrid Bergman now than she ever did. So, a smart, romantic "dramedy" with wonderful performances. When was the last time I was able to say that? Go see it and tell me if you think I'm exaggerating at all.

Reviewed by EijnarAmadeus 8 / 10

A small, but very affective watch.

James Gray's latest film tells the tale of Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix), a man who had a problematic break-up with his fiancée two years ago, and has since been heading down a suicidal road. 4-months into living back home with his anxious parents (played by Moni Moshonov and Isabella Rossellini) and helping out at his father's dry-cleaning business, Leonard is introduced to Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), a sweet daughter of his father's business friend. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Leonard has moments of true spark with her, and you can see his eyes changing away from the torment inside. A woman is surely the right thing for Leonard, as he carves through the days with a worn-out heart and a mind in loneliness. Soon after meeting Sandra, he befriends Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful but messed-up girl that's dating her married boss (played by Elias Koteas). With her, Leonard sees an escape, and a burning romance. Leonard's mind is now set on two women, and he finds himself torn between them.

James Gray hadn't really impressed me with his earlier films, for me they all lacked out on the intensity and became standard crime-thrillers. With his latest melodramatic romance, he really surprised me; he does a caring job directing the three performers, and he tells a strange and tender story. The music of the film is Jewish guitar-instrumentals that are carefully intertwined, but most of the film has got a blanket of quiet bleakness, and it's covering every little corner.

The performances of Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw are great, and although the two never share screen-space, director Gray naturally and carefully shifts between the two lives Leonard is living, and so the two of them add lovely pieces to the story. But it's in-between the double relationship the film and its protagonist is living, the film has to connect, and it couldn't have been done better than by Joaquin Phoenix. Leonard is a suicidal depressive that enters human-bounding and the give & receive of it, and this is a very difficult character to portray - but just look at Phoenix, he is phenomenal; the incredible naturalism of it shows Phoenix in the performance of his career.

The melancholy of the film doesn't make it for the dominant audience, but I've never even cared a bit for that, and it's a delight that romance on screen can be thrown upon like this. 'Two Lovers' is a small film with a heart that's full of rare atmosphere, the form of it is tearing and in center, a superb Joaquin Phoenix.

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