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CAN: Two Lovers

05.21.2008

TWO LOVERS

Directed by: James Gray
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow
Review written by Deke Richards

PLOT: Who cares!!!! Just kidding (or am I...). TWO LOVERS is a romantic drama set in Brooklyn about a bachelor (Joaquin Phoenix) torn between a family friend his parents want him to marry and the beautiful but fragile new neighbor that he's falling for...

CRITIQUE: Being an admirer of James Gray, the director who helmed the excellent gangster flick THE YARDS, I was more than pumped to catch his latest film TWO LOVERS. Personally, my main point of interest when it came to this flick was watching "the man" Joaquin Phoenix, (always a plus for me - solid actor) make his life a living hell by trying to keep two relationships with two women going at the same time .One gal he entertains, for the sake of keeping his family happy, and the other he pursues, cause he truly is in love with her. Ambitious, ambitious...poor guy...

Actually, there was one unintentionally amusing scene that perfectly illustrated the complexity of the central situation and this film's overall game: After Phoenix's character returns from a date with his crush (Gwyneth Paltrow), his mother, (the still sexy Isabella Rossellini) asks him why he stiffed his girlfriend (Vinessa Shaw) for lunch? His excuse: Because of a terrorist alert in the subway, they halted service (got to remember that one)! The film had countless sequences of this type that made me laugh, had me squirming in my seat (yes I was rooting for Phoenix to not get pinched) and sometimes had me say to myself: "Phoenix , what the hell are you doing? Call it quits while you're ahead!"

I also took fancy to the film's knack at addressing today's technology and its place within the dangerous game that is "two timing." Cell phones, message boards, booking plane tickets online, those devices were all used in this film and more often than none, slyly wound up launching a pivotal plot point as to the story. That was a very "now" move, one that we call relate to. Yes gents, cheating is not as easy and painless as it used to be due to that damn internet. It's gotten much trickier. This film echoed that brilliantly.

And you can't go wrong with the always much welcomed inclusion (brief but his scene was so memorable I had to mention it ) of the great Elias Koteas (THE PROPHECY fame). I won't tell you what his role was all about but let's just say that as soon as he entered the frame I knew the stakes had just gotten higher.

In short TWO LOVERS chronicled the mishaps of a good guy doing the wrong things for the right and at the same time the wrong reasons. Make sense? Yes and no, such is life, such is this movie. It's that ambiguity (lets face it, I was rooting for a cheater) tagged with the fact that all of the characters were likable that made me warm up to this one. The film didn't really take sides, its story was layered and filled with grey areas (again, much like in real) and it let us pick the sides we wanted to as to its characters. Think riding an emotional see-saw and you'll get the gist of what this film was all about.

Although the film was well written, stunning to look at (cinematography was stand-out), effortlessly paced and with a top notch cast to boot, I can see how its not for everybody. Unless sitting through a film about a post suicidal man screwing up other people’s lives and his own in the name of love, lack of spine and selfishness is your cup Nescafe that is! It sounds like sweet times at the movies to you too? Be my guest and see it!

RATING: 7/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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