by Carolyn Oakes
Two Lovers is another ordinary love story.
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A love story set in Brooklyn, NY spins a very familiar tale of a woman who loves a man, who loves another woman, who loves another man, who appears to love his wife. Of course, none of the assembled characters love each other, and isn’t that a story we have heard once or twice before? Fortunately, a well-appointed leading actor manages to lift this bleak and oft-told premise to a higher level of intrigue. Two Lovers, directed and co-written by James Gray, is simply a relatable story of unrequited love.
I suppose Leonard’s story tells the same one we all have known or should be lucky enough to experience in our lives: the onslaught and nature of love can be powerful enough to spark a change in the most melancholy of hearts. Paltrow seems to lack enough natural charm and “je ne sais quoi” to embody a Michelle that is irresistible to the audience, as much so as she is to Leonard. Phoenix is the standout performance amongst able actors, single-handedly redeeming a plot that has very little to say that has not been said, or shown before in more moving films of similar subject matter.
Probably not a film that will be remembered for years to come, Two Lovers has its’ moments of gripping honesty, in its pursuit of portraying the tragic and compelling nature that a deep love can have on a lost soul. As Michelle lays in bed, after suffering the grief of her own loss, she asks Leonard to write something on her arm - a tactic her grandmother would use to soothe her into falling asleep as a child. It’s a moving moment that is unique in a sequence of scenes that seem to lack a depth gripping enough to surpass the quality of just another ordinary love story.
Carolyn Oakes Carolyn Oakes is a writer from Long Island, NY.
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