Two Lovers captures the very essence of what raw and vulnerable performance has long been seeking. It’s very conspicuous at first view that Two Lovers is undeniably a film that captures the emotions of love and the susceptibility of falling back to your emotions. James Gray (“We Own the Night”), has led the star cast of Gwenth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, and Joaquin Phoenix to all perform more than admirably in the production value of a film that on paper does not seem so remarkable, but on the screen is simply exhilarating.
There’s something unruly about romantic dramas. It is often extremely difficult to portray emotions in characters that have so many foibles and are played by actors that are usually disconcerted with the actual convention of the relationship itself, leaving an audience with a believable act but one that essentially feels void of any reality. Authenticity of emotion surprisingly triumphs in Two Lovers. For the lack of a better phrase, it has made us believers in the connection that the two characters share on screen.
Leonard Kraditor is captivating but essentially a broken-hearted trouble. His last girlfriend dumped him as we learn at the beginning of the film through a very glimpse silhouette in the water. Thankfully, he’s slowly rebuilding himself with the help of his parents Sandra and Reuben Kraditor (Isabella Rossellini and Moni Monoshov). Leonard meets two women, a la two lovers that can be thought of as essentially a conceit in the compelling nature of something like love: Michelle (the lovely Gwyneth Paltrow), an enigmatic but beautiful neighbor who represents a fervid desire in Leonard’s world, and Sandra, the comfy and loveable daughter of a businessman buying out their old dry-cleaning family run business. As he gets acquainted with both of them, he learns more and more about each one that ultimately requires that he make a decision between the two, and risk losing what he once had all over again: a sense of belonging to someone and vice versa.
Joaquin Phoenix act mesmerizingly and it is a shame that he has chosen to retire from acting, but this is the perfect film that sets him off for his flight to a new industry and in whatever he chooses. Paltrow delivers a stunning performance as she always has been in every one of her films, while the rest of the cast balances perfectly to the divulging and hectic nature of the ensemble.
Two Lovers is simply internalized conflict that magnifies itself in an incredible and thought provoking way. The film itself is brave, and the performances are bold and vulnerable enough to be considered emotionally intense that deserves each and everyone to set out to theaters to watch this.