Two Lovers (2009) USA
Two Lovers Image Cover
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Director:James Gray
Studio:Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Writer:James Gray & Richard Menello
Rating:4.0 (2 votes)
Rated:Suitable for 15 years and over
Date Added:2010-02-01
Purchased On:2010-02-01
Picture Format:Anamorphic Widescreen
Aspect Ratio:2.4:1
Sound:DTS HD 5.1
James Gray  ...  (Director)
James Gray & Richard Menello  ...  (Writer)
Bob Ari  ...  
Moni Moshonov  ...  
Vinessa Shaw  ...  
Julie Budd  ...  
Gwyneth Paltrow  ...  
Summary: A few weeks in the life of 35-year-old Leonard, living with his doting parents in their Brooklyn apartment and covering the relationships he has with two very different women. He has a history of mental illness and attempts on his own life, and in the film he faces a choice between the 'sensible' woman his parents want him to marry (for business reasons as much as any other) and a woman neighbour who leads a drug- and alcohol-fuelled partying and clubbing life style but whose sadness and depression seem to appeal to Leonard's own unstable state of mind.

This is writer and director James Gray's third film in a row in partnership with Joaquin Phoenix (after The Yards and We Own the Night) and apparently Phoenix's swansong now that he has chosen a new career in music. While it does have some mildly amusing moments the overall atmosphere is downbeat and tragic from the very start, although the ending was not the one I had expected. The acting is of a high standard across the cast, and while Phoenix will deservedly attract all the attention for a superb and touching performance, Isabella Rossellini was an inspired choice of casting as the overly inquisitive and relentlessly worried mother. And while it is not exactly an adult film, most of the issues will be of interest mainly to a more mature audience. These issues include parents' reactions to a would-be son-in-law's mental illness and how it could be passed down to future offspring; it was in fact this that led to Leonard's most recent suicide attempt. With other matters such as drug use, infidelity and miscarriages central to the story line and all dealt with from a serious perspective, the film is thought-provoking, moving and worth seeing more than once.

From a technical perspective there was little in the way of obvious high-definition benefit, this being an intelligent story rather than a visual cinematic feast. I rented it on Blu-Ray but if I were to buy it I would probably choose standard-def if there was a worthwhile saving. As for extras, there were three deleted scenes totalling ten minutes, at least one of which I feel should have been included in the original cut as it better explained Leonard's mother's knowledge of his clandestine relationship. Of useful value was a full re-run of the film with a commentary by the director. Subtitles on my copy were English only.

4.5 stars would be appropriate. This is an intelligent story acted out with passion and skill by its leading man in particular, the script is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone who likes romantic drama with an emphasis on the drama.